What can happen to roadside crash tributes
GRIEVING families could be forced to tear down shrines to their loved ones killed on Mackay roads.
Mackay Regional Council voted to extend a policy giving officers the power to remove roadside memorials, even charging heartbroken family members for the costs of tearing them down if necessary.
Mayor Greg Williamson said the policy extension, which was approved in the Wednesday council meeting, would address any shrines that had become "out of hand".
Cr Williamson said memorials that were an eyesore, a driver distraction, deteriorating or posed a safety risk could be removed.
The policy allows officers to force families to take down their tributes just 12 months after a road fatality.
If a family refuses, council can charge the mourners for the removal costs.
"(Council) will deal sensitively with issues associated with memorials but does not encourage the placement of roadside memorials within the road reserve due to the potential road safety impacts of such memorials," the policy states.
The roadside vigils would be limited to a height of 75cm, a depth of 40cm and could not be wider than 50cm.
"That ensures it doesn't get out of hand and become a hazard on the roadside," Cr Williamson said.
"This would only happen if it's run down or neglected."
But Cr Williamson said compassion would guide any use of the policy.
In a grassy channel by Eimeo Rd a purple cross, flowers, fairy lights and a lavender child's desk and two chairs sit next to a memorial for a young mother of five, who was killed in Mackay's Northern Beaches on Wednesday, July 15.
The shrine dedicated to Crystal Marr was designed so her three youngest children, aged three, four and five, would be able to sit and play by their mother's memorial.
Despite being larger than the council policy allows, Cr Williamson said it would not take action to remove it unless a complaint was filed.
"We're a complaints driven organisation," Cr Williamson said.
"And if that particular memorial is outside of our policy we generally would not act if there isn't a complaint.
"We're not going to be patrolling, we only act on complaints."
He said many of Mackay's memorials had stood for years after the road fatality with no issues reported to council.
"It is not our intention to pull those down," Cr Williamson said.
"It's trying to be as compassionate as possible."
The policy also allows the council to temporarily remove memorials during roadworks.
"(Council) will not accept responsibility for the maintenance of memorials, or any loss, damage, removal or relocation of roadside memorials that may occur due to road maintenance of construction activities," it said.
Before any action was taken, Cr Williamson said each family would be consulted.
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