Buses prevented a funeral procession from leaving Echuca's St Mary's church last week, prompting parishioners to start a petition asking for council's help to stop it from happening again.By Trent Horneman
Parishioners at Echuca’s St Mary’s church have told Campaspe Shire councillors their frustration at public buses blocking their driveway.
Councillors received a petition with 125 signatures asking for council help to remedy the issue.
They resolved to write to Public Transport Victoria to see if bus schedules could be rearranged to alleviate overcrowding at the Hare St bus stop.
Parish council president Doug Blackett and Echuca’s Tobin Brothers Funerals director Sean Green believed up to three buses regularly parked at the bus stop during the day, stopping church members and funerals from accessing the church grounds.
The pair claimed buses prevented a funeral procession from leaving the church last week.
Mr Green said it was a problem for the deceased’s family, who wanted a quick exit from the church to allow the procession to make its way to the cemetery.
Instead, the congregation waited several minutes for the hearse to leave the church yard.
Mr Blackett said it was ridiculous and disrespectful.
Mr Blackett said buses also blocked an SES volunteer working at the site last week.
‘‘He spoke to the bus drivers asking whether the driveway could be left open,’’ Mr Blackett said.
‘‘He explained why and he was essentially ignored.’’
He said while it might seem a minor issue, it was important for the church’s congregation, many of whom were elderly and had limited mobility.
While council does not manage the towns public bus service, it would advocate change on behalf of the church and funeral service.
Cr Neil Pankhurst said it was unacceptable.
‘‘We will do what we can to act as a voice for the community,’’ he said.
‘‘I would also encourage you to take your petition to the local member, as well as Public Transport Victoria and lobby them.’’
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