4 December 2017

Committee kills off Eddison Park plan, recommends new cemetery and crematorium

| Ian Bushnell
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The front entrance to Woden Cemetery. Photo: ACT Public Cemeteries Authority.

The ACT Government should proceed with plans to resurrect the proposal for a new cemetery on the so-called Southern Memorial Park site in Hume instead of expanding the Woden Cemetery, a Legislative Assembly committee has recommended.

The Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services, which tabled its report on ACT cemeteries in the Assembly last Thursday, also urged as a high priority the establishment of a second crematorium in the ACT.

The recommendations come after fierce public opposition by community groups to the proposed expansion of Woden Cemetery into Eddison Park.

Committee chair Suzanne Orr said it was important that the Government acknowledged changing community preferences for burial and interment practices in the planning, management, and operation of ACT cemeteries.

“In light of the shift in burial and interment preferences the Committee recommends the planned extension of Woden Cemetery be reconsidered, the Government proceed with the current plans for the Southern Memorial Park as an urgent priority and a second crematorium for Canberra be considered as a high priority,” Ms Orr said.

The Committee also recommended the Crematoria and Cemeteries Act 2013 be reviewed to ascertain the feasibility and financial basis for adopting a renewable tenure scheme for burial plots.

But it said any tenure changes should only apply to future burial sales and not retrospectively to existing plot sites.

The Committee recommended the management and operation of ACT cemeteries continue to be the responsibility of the ACT Cemeteries Authority, with submissions showing a strong preference for public provision of burial and interment services.

Community groups, including the Woden Valley Community Council, believed the Eddison Park proposal would see Woden Town Centre lose one of its few remaining green spaces.

But the Government had flagged that the Hume option was back on the table in light of planning changes to Woden Town Centre to cater for the extension of light rail to Woden.

The Woden Valley Community Council welcomed the recommendations. “We are particularly pleased with the recommendations to proceed with the current plans for the Southern Memorial Park and to reconsider the extension of the Woden Cemetery into Eddison Park. We now call on the ACT Government to fund the Southern Memorial so Eddison Park can be retained for the use of the community,” WVCC President Fiona Carrick said.

Southern Memorial Park on Mugga Lane has been reserved for a new cemetery for almost a decade.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think the ACT needs a second crematorium soon? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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Ana said :

Has there been the annual Woden Fair in Edison Park recently? I am just reminded that it used to be on either I’ve missed it the last few years, or what happened to it?

The annual Italian Community Day was abandoned this year due to wet weather.
Very few people even know where Edison Park is that is why it will be easy for our apartment-centric government to make it disappear.
I am now recalling Joni Mitchell’s great line in Big Yellow Taxi “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.

Has there been the annual Woden Fair in Edison Park recently? I am just reminded that it used to be on either I’ve missed it the last few years, or what happened to it?

Exploring_The_Blue said :

bd84 a ‘hardly ever used piece of park’ is a valuable green space in any urban environment and makes a significant contribution to the well being of all those who live or work or commute around it. Measuring the value of a park only by the intensity of its use by humans fails to recognise it’s intrinsic value. This lack of recognition is why we have monolithic concrete jungles in most cities in Australia. Just let the green space be and value it for what it is!

It sounds like the perfect site for a crematorium which will attract many more humans, both living and dead, to the location. The fumes can be shared by all the people living nearby that the government plans to move into high-rise apartments in the Woden Town Centre precinct.

For those who survive, a win-win outcome.

“This lack of recognition is why we have monolithic concrete jungles in most cities in Australia. Just let the green space be and value it for what it is!”Absurd. You’re never far from hectares of bush in canberra. Never more than a km or so to a reserve or at worst an oval. Opponents to development always covet a bit of conveniently located grass. You don’t own it and thats not ‘green space’. Thats a future dwelling that allows people to live close to where they work. Good for the economy, good for the environment, bad for nimbys

Exploring_The_Blue6:49 pm 05 Dec 17

bd84 a ‘hardly ever used piece of park’ is a valuable green space in any urban environment and makes a significant contribution to the well being of all those who live or work or commute around it. Measuring the value of a park only by the intensity of its use by humans fails to recognise it’s intrinsic value. This lack of recognition is why we have monolithic concrete jungles in most cities in Australia. Just let the green space be and value it for what it is!

…thus freeing up the land to route light rail towards the hospital. Good move I say.

The original report, which was done over 8 years ago, supported by the usual “community consultation” that no one in my northern Tuggeranong suburb can remember, dealt with a cemetery only. There were qualified suggestions as to the need for a crematorium subject to environmental assessments. It has been on the “back-burner” ever since. Now, suddenly, it is back again.

Given all the odour dramas that developed from mismanagement of the land fill at the MLRMC after the tabling of this report and documented proof that air currents carry everything that can be detected by smell and stuff that can’t (including the emissions from the land gas electricity generator at the MLRMC which is equivalent to those from 24 large diesel powered trucks running at high speed 24/7) to the northern Tuggeranong suburbs, a fresh round of genuine community consultations needs to be undertaken before any further consideration is made.

I am not totally opposed to the cemetery proposal but the crematorium, with its deadly mercury emissions, is NOT ON and neither is the waste incinerator that this current government wants to sneak in at the MLRMC.

It’s funny how a hardly ever used piece of a park suddenly becomes so much more valuable to people when they want to use that part for something useful. Particularly when the public was largely in favour of the proposal, but it wouldn’t be Canberra a last minute mind change and a temper tantrum by the vocal minority.

While the new cemetery and crematorium is a good outcome, where will people be buried on the Southside after next year, before the Government gets around to forking out the cash to build the new one?

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