15 September 2021

Plans lodged for private crematorium on south side

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
Proposed crematorium chapel

An artist’s impression of the proposed crematorium and chapel. Image: RFA Architects.

Plans have been lodged for a new private crematorium in Canberra’s south that could eventually operate in tandem with the proposed public Southern Memorial Park cemetery.

International funeral services provider Invocare Australia and the Whitby Group first unveiled their joint-venture plans for Block 1 Section 3 Symonston at the corner of Mugga Lane and Narrabundah Lane in 2018.

The L-shaped, 9 ha site used to be home to the Mugga Lane Zoo, but there is little evidence of it left.

The proponent says the ACT’s only crematorium at Norwood Park in Mitchell is struggling to meet demand as Canberra’s population grows, particularly from the south.

Crematorium map

The site and its nearest neighbours. Image: Purdon Planning.

It plans a two-stage development – crematorium, administration building and shared services covering 1119 square metres, followed by a memorial park.

The development application prepared by Purdon Planning says the aim is to integrate with the proposed Southern Memorial Park, with potential for collaboration between the private and public facilities to provide a choice of services.

The DA covers the $3.2 million first stage, including the cremation facilities, a chapel and lounge, landscaping, a car park and associated works.

The lounge building will include a reception area, reflection lounge, viewing room, and staff offices.

The chapel building will connect to the crematorium workshop and cremators at the rear, which also includes a cold room, garden maintenance area, viewing area and store.

A masonry covered walkway will connect the chapel to the lounge buildings for gatherings and wake services, and a porte-cochere is planned at the front to accommodate hearses.

Proposed crematorium lounge

A view of the proposed crematorium lounge entry. Image: RFA Architects.

The proposal includes 103 parking spaces across the site, including administration parking, motorcycle, accessible and overflow parking.

A new access point is proposed via Narrabundah Lane, and the existing access at Mugga Lane will be formalised for service vehicle use.

A Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) prepared by Indesco modelled two key intersections, Narrabundah Lane with Mugga Lane, and Hindmarsh Drive with Mugga Lane, finding that the proposal would generate 85 and 82 trips in AM and PM hours, respectively.

The project’s Master Plan includes a range of landscaped gardens and native plantings to beautify the site, and Invocare plans a natural landscape setting, including waterways as a design feature.

The landscaping includes entry avenue plantings that lead visitors towards the chapel building and terraced memorial gardens with a remembrance and reflection area, including a reflection pond, picnic area for before or after services, a pergola structure with stone columns and climbing plants.

The site is in a bushfire zone and a bushfire consultant has overseen the landscape plans to provide separation distances, appropriate planting types, and sufficient fire control measures.

There are remnant Box-Gum Woodland and Blakely’s Red Gum, and other eucalypts on the site, but the DA says the facilities have been positioned to avoid and minimise any direct and indirect impacts to heritage and biodiversity.

Capital Ecology prepared an Ecological Impact Assessment as part of an EPBC Act referral and an Environmental Significance Opinion (ESO) provided by the ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna and ACT Heritage. The proposal is not likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact.

The cremation process will generate some low-level pollutants and an Environmental Authorisation will be sought from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The lease will need to be varied to accommodate the proposal.

The DA is open to comments until 29 September.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
pamelahcollett9:38 am 26 Sep 21

Callum Brae Nature Reserve will be overwhelmed by this proposed huge development next to it.

Please submit a submission against this development application.

Deadline 29 September 2021

To submit a submission Go to http://www.planning.act.gov.au.
Choose Development applications open for Public Comment
Search by closing date 29 September or
SYMONSTON Development Application: 202138789
Address: 99 MUGGA LANE

Thank you!

Carolyn Drew11:06 am 19 Sep 21

This should not be allowed to go ahead in this area. The land is treed and its destruction will not only kill the trees but destroy the area wildlife call home. Contrary to popular belief animals, including birds, do not just ‘move to the next tree’ or ‘into another hollow’. There are already other wildlife living in the trees and within the rest of the environment ‘next door’. Destruction like this causes terrible harm to the environment and its wildlife. And to think that the local Greens claim they worry about climate change and the environment. Really???

the issues raised in this DA, represent multiple risks to animal welfare and health, considerable risks to human welfare and health, and a major environmental threat to the entire ACT community. The proposed site is completely unsuitable for a crematorium. With the planet on the brink of a climate change disaster, this development has the potential to alter Canberra’s climate.

Will the new crematorium be able to get up to the temperatures required to cremate a body using solar power instead of gas?

Capital Retro4:32 pm 17 Sep 21

Why can’t they use landfill gas from the MLRMC?

How about nuclear power? We could just add it to the AUKUS contract.

Lucky it’s not a cemetery, cos it’s right across the road from the dog kennels.

Capital Retro6:00 pm 16 Sep 21

Residents of East O’Malley and Red Hill will enjoy the aroma drifting their way under the inversion layer.

Does this take up any of the Callum Brae nature reserve? Maybe it’s the old zoo site?

Carolyn Drew10:59 am 19 Sep 21

It’s the old zoo site but will still impact Callum Brae Nature Reserve and the wildlife who call it home, especially the birdlife. Putting this there is totally thoughtless. But then that’s what I’ve come to expect from the ACT government when it comes to the environment and its wildlife.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.