The first stage of the proposed new cemetery in Canberra’s south will have 2500 burial plots in a lawn and native garden setting, according to a tender released for the design work.
But despite increasing community calls for cheaper and more environmentally friendly services, there will not be any natural burial plots included in Stage 1 of the Southern Memorial Park (SMP) planned for a 76-hectare site on Long Gully Road.
Stage 1 will also include a 600-800 square metre cremation memorial garden to cater for about 100 memorials and their ashes, although a crematorium on the SMP site is not slated until a future stage to be determined.
SMP will be developed in four stages, spread across 25 years, to service the needs of people in southern Canberra and the wider ACT, now that Woden Cemetry is full.
The tender comes after public consultation in 2018 and a government announcement early last year that the SMP would proceed, although the consultation report has not yet been released.
City Services Minister Chris Steel said at the time that the SMP would provide interment services for the next 100 years and it was essential for the growing Canberra community to have a southside alternative to the Gungahlin Cemetery.
He said the site would also be designed to allow for a second crematorium for Canberra, but the government has since announced that it would this year build a public crematorium alongside the private Norwood Park facility at Mitchell.
In late 2018, the Whitby Group proposed to develop a private funeral home and crematorium in Symonston at the corner of Mugga Lane and Narrabundah Lane that it said would be complementary to the Long Gully Road facility.
The key requirement for the successful tenderer is to revise the 2012 SMP Master Plan and include landscaping, buildings, roads, utilities, concept layout and design, as well as update environmental and heritage reports, and provide an estimate of how much it will cost to deliver Stage 1.
The locations and size of gardens will be based on the revised Masterplan, but they are to be developed with a native theme and be drought resistant.
The garden setting could include higher quality products such as headstones and family estates.
Stage 1 will also include a 100 square metre nature/native-themed playground with a soft fall surface.
The tender documents say the design plan project will establish the minimum requirements for the provision of civil works, utilities, water resources and facilities required for the SMP, with a focus on Stage 1, providing a foundation for the provision of infrastructure to be developed in later stages.
Utilities include mains power, with solar to be explored, and gas for a future crematorium.
“The consultant engaged for this project will workshop the approach to delivering the Masterplan and associated work with Canberra Cemeteries and the project delivery team,” the tender says.
“Consultation with key community representatives and government stakeholders to clarify requirements, review the Masterplan and design proposals, must be undertaken and the outcomes clearly reflected in the final Masterplan and Stage 1 preliminary design.”
The design project is scheduled to be completed in June 2020.