BASSENDEAN residents Josephine and Phillip Kerr thought losing their daughter was the hardest thing they would have to deal with in their lifetime.
The recent news they would have to pay more money for two pre-purchased plots at Guildford Cemetery has added to their grief.
The couple lost their daughter Sharon-Rose in 1977 in a car accident and, at the time, signed what they thought was a 50-year agreement purchasing two plots next to her grave for their family.
Mrs Kerr believed it was the best thing to do to keep their family together.
“We did the right thing; we purchased two plots 35 years ago for our family graves,” she said.
“We made a binding contract for 50 years and there are still three places left there, two places with our daughter for us, and one for our eldest daughter.”
Mrs Kerr said a letter from Local Government Minister John Castrilli showed the agreement made 35 years ago no longer existed and the couple would now need to pay almost $4000 to keep both plots after a legislative change in 1986.
“The only way we can use the three empty places in our two grave plots is to purchase them again at the cost of about $4000, and as a matter of principle we’re not going to do so,” she said.
Metropolitan Cemeteries Board spokesman Andrew Fox said a lot of confusion had arisen since the July 2 expiry date triggered by the Cemeteries Act 1986 regarding payments and plot renewals.
“Across the metropolitan area a number of plots at Karrakatta, Fremantle, Midland and Guildford cemeteries are affected; however the vast majority of these have already served a significant proportion of their tenure,” Mr Fox said.
“Only plots that were purchased prior to 1987 are affected by the grant expirations that expired on July 2; plots purchased after 1987 are not affected.”
Mr Fox said thousands of plots expired each year and while some families wished to purchase additional tenure for peace of mind, a grant was needed only if people intended to place additional interments in the plot.
“Most families do not renew an expired grant unless they want to re-use the plot as there is no practical reason to do so,” Mr Fox said.
Mrs Kerr, who has been inundated with offers of support to help pay for the plots, said regardless of when she and her husband had to pay for them, the agreement made at the time of their daughter’s death should “still stand for something”.
Questions to Mr Castrilli’s office were unanswered at the time of going to print.