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A big crowd was on hand for the official opening of the Bay Islands Memorial Garden on Russell Island.

The Official Opening was deservedly performed by Division 5 Redland City Councillor Mark Edwards.

The concept of the Memorial Garden has been entirely that of Cr Edwards, receiving unanimous support from the rest of the Redland City Council to make it a reality.

The design and functionality of the Memorial Garden was lauded by many at the official opening.

It was ‘blessed’ by Anglican Minister Daniel Hobbs.

In his opening address, Cr Edwards said: “ Since I first came to the islands 17 years ago, the number of people coming to live amongst us has grown considerably and the population continues to grow as people discover our islands and fall in love with the island life style and the nature around us.

“There is no doubt, that our greatest demographic is older residents, who choose to retire here.

“Unfortunately, when our loved-one’s pass, there has not been a public island location to commemorate their life and rest their ashes.

“It has often meant that ashes of loved ones who loved our islands, are interned at mainland locations; and visiting that location can often be difficult.

“I am proud that from today, the Southern Moreton Bay Islands community now have our own memorial garden.”

Cr Edwards continued and said the memorial garden is not just a place for those who have passed.

“It is also a place for the living. It is designed for people to visit; reflect and even enjoy. “It is open, not closed. It is a parkland setting and over the years will expand with more gardens, paths and places to sit and rest.”

The councillor added: :”It is a rare occasion for a new Memorial Garden to open, and I am very pleased that the Redland City Councillors supported my motion to build this facility.”

The Memorial Garden off High Street on Russell Island allows for the burial of ashes only and a plaque on the face of the specially designed outer rim of each garden.

There will be three functions of the Bay Islands Memorial Garden:

1. The gardens can be used for the burial of ashes and the mounting of a 120 x 80mm plaque;

2. For those who may not have the ashes and wish to ‘remember’ someone, this may also occur with the mounting of a plaque only;

3. Island residents may also ‘reserve’ a space for the future with a full payment.

Cr Edwards said : “The cost for the new memorial gardens for the highest usage, is $660 including GST,” he told The Friendly Bay Islander.

A plaque is an additional $330 incl GST.

This is approximately half the cost of some similar mainland facilities.

Also, 100 lots will be available for placement in this first stage of the project.

He said ‘other options’ may be added at a later date.

“One idea we are considering is the development of a ‘Memory Walk’ where plaques may be mounted in a different way.”

• Cr Edwards with the plaque that commemorates the opening of the Bay Islands Memorial Garden.

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