Veterans of and members of the Milang community are furious over the destruction of a significant pine hedge at the War Memorial Gardens.
Video posted by war veteran Greg Hopgood on his personal Facebook page on Tuesday 24 June shows his confrontation with council workers after they had removed the 99-year-old hedges.
“Do you understand, did you feel anything when you were ripping that up?” Mr Hopgood said in the video.
Workers responded by telling him the work was being completed as hedges were obstructing the view of motorists.
The plants hold particular significance to the Milang local as his Great Grandfather and Great uncle planted the hedges in 1921 after serving in World War 1.
A friend of Mr Hopgood’s, third generation war veteran Brad Pavey from Strathalbyn, said he is also devastated about the loss.
“When you stood there with that big hedge behind you, it was like the diggers were behind you, and they’ve just ruined that now,” Mr Pavey said.
Mayor of Alexandrina Keith Parkes said he was saddened to hear of the incident and that he and Councillors were not informed of the decision.
“Something like this should have come to Council for a decision and it should have gone to community for approval,” Mayor Parkes said.
The Mayor has has acknowledged the plants did not need to be ripped up in order for road safety in the area.
“We could have taken the give way signs out and put stop signs in,” he said.
Mr Hodgood said he would like somebody to be held accountable for the ‘desecration of a war memorial’, which can come with heavy penalties.
Mayor Parkes said someone will have to fess up to the error.
“This was a mistake. It was not the lads who did the work… somebody’s got to own up and say ‘I made an error and I’m sorry’.”
He is meeting with stakeholders and the RSL today, Thursday 25 June, to discuss a solution.
Jennie Lenman catches up with Pavy, Greg Hopgood and Mayor Keith Parkes to discuss the situation.
Photo of Milang War Memorial Garden with hedge removed from Greg Hopkins video, supplied