AN 89-year-old Prospect man has expressed outrage and grief over the planned removal of a fence around his uncle's grave at a Westbury Road cemetery.
Fred Mace has 27 relatives buried in the cemetery including his uncle, whose grave is surrounded by a cast iron, spiked fence that is due to be removed.
The private cemetery dates back to 1865 and is owned by the Open Door Fellowship, which bought it more than 12 years ago.
Church pastor Keith Treasure said the fence had to be removed after a maintenance man suffered serious leg injuries when he was impaled on the fence's spikes while spraying weeds in December last year.
Mr Treasure said that if the church did not remove the fence it could face liability issues.
"We don't want to offend people but we don't want to see them dead either," Mr Treasure said.
But Mr Mace said he did not see why the entire fence had to be removed.
"It's been like that for all of these years and I never had any trouble," he said.
Mr Mace said he found out that the fence would be removed in a public notice in The Examiner on Saturday. The notice said the work included "the removal of fencing or other surrounds to individual graves where such fencing or surrounds may reasonably contribute a hazard or has fallen into serious disrepair."
It said gravestones would not be affected.
Mr Mace said he used to spray the graves for 20 years but stopped around five years ago.
"It's in disrepair now," he said.
"They own the church and they reckon they can do what they want," he said.
Mr Treasure said that the church would not remove every fence, only the ones with pointed arrow and spike designs that posed a danger.
"We are doing the best to repair it (cemetery) and keep it safe, I don't think anybody could ask for more," Mr Treasure said.
"We've got no option but to remove that fence."
Mr Mace also claimed a 1907 grave at the cemetery had been covered over by an asphalt driveway at the cemetery but Mr Treasure denied any graves had been damaged.
"We haven't destroyed any graves since we've been there, we've only tried to look after them," he said.
The work will be carried out on Saturday.