A SIGN advertising the new Melaleuca Station crematorium takes pride of place at South Tweed Sports.D997813 PETER CATON
A SIGN advertising the new Melaleuca Station crematorium takes pride of place at South Tweed Sports.D997813 PETER CATON

LAST STOP



A LEADING Tweed tourist attraction is about to cash in on the region's reputation as ''God's waiting room''.

The picturesque Melaleuca Station at Chinderah has been given the green light for a makeover which includes a new mortuary and crematorium.

They've even started advertising for potential customers at a local bowls club.

Don Beck, the man behind the project, said the crematorium was essential in a growth area like the Tweed.

Construction of the building will begin as soon as possible. It will feature a similar architectural style to the station and be connected by a ''tasteful walkway''.

The rapidly growing, but aging, Tweed has often been referred to as the ''stairway to heaven'' and for the owners of the venture it proves there is life after death-in-politics.

Mr Beck, the former Tweed National Party MP defeated by Labor's Neville Newell in 1999, and his wife, former Tweed mayor Lynne, who was deputy mayor when the council was sacked last year, head the family company behind the project.

Earlier this week BCS Group Pty Ltd got the go-ahead from the Tweed shire administrators for a zoning rule change to allow a crematorium on part of the property occupied by their Melaleuca Station tourist complex.

The administrators agreed to the use after the Beck's town planning consultant showed the proposed site was on the property occupied by the tourist complex approved 14 years ago and would not "alienate productive agricultural land".

Mr Beck, the managing director of the group which owns Tweed Heads Coolangatta Funeral Services, Murwillumbah Funerals and Kingscliff Funerals, said he was "delighted" at the decision.

"It's the first step," he said. "We want to centralise our whole operation. The new facility will be an important service and will increase the staff requirement.

"The only other one in the Tweed is the Tweed council crematorium. The next nearest are Allambe Gardens (at Nerang) and Lismore City's crematorium at Goonellabah.

"We felt this was an essential need in a growth area. We would like the facility to be up and running in the next few months".



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