Council wants crematorium
TWEED Shire Council is pushing ahead with its plans to turn ash to cash by building its own $420,000 crematorium at the Tweed Valley Cemetery at Eviron, halfway between Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads.
The move is set to take advantage of the number of elderly people living and dying in the booming area. According to the council it would also turn around the financial fortunes of its loss-making main cemetery.
In November last year the council called for expressions of interest in the supply and installation of a crematorium furnace at its Eviron regional cemetery as part of preparations for a detailed business plan.
Council officers have now submitted a development application to build a crematorium "within an existing maintenance shed and to construct a new maintenance shed" at the Tweed Valley Cemetery.
One of the council's senior environmental scientists Dave Hannah wrote in the application the establishment of a crematorium was "identified as a key business opportunity to reduce or eliminate operational losses currently experienced at the Tweed Valley Cemetery".
"The proposal is permissible with consent in accordance with the zoning provisions," he added.
The application pointed out the initiative "was taken as a response to find solutions to address significant annual operational losses".
"The forward projection of cemetery operations showed that the installation of a crematorium is the key business opportunity to reduce or eliminate operational losses in the future," Mr Hannah wrote.
"The business plan also clearly identified that without the crematorium, operational losses will continue to increase regardless of other efficiency measures."
The furnace would be installed in the existing maintenance shed, which would later be extended to provide a "viewing room and additional storage".
Construction is planned to begin in January, meaning the council would need to approve the proposal at its December meeting.
Council staff said the proposed crematorium was not expected to increase peak traffic and parking requirements at the site "as staff resources limit services (burial or cremation and interment) to one service at a time".
"The site already provides for 48 car spaces at the central car park and an additional 11 car spaces at the main entrance, incorporating two disabled parking spaces within the central car park," they said.