A new southside crematorium, memorial park and funeral home that would relieve pressure on Norwood Park, Gungahlin Cemetery and the near-capacity Woden Cemetery is being proposed for Symonston.
Purdon Planning has been engaged by Whitby Group to manage the development application process, including consultation for the proposed development on Block 1 Section 3 Symonston at the corner of Mugga Lane and Narrabundah Lane.
Purdon says the funeral home would be about 2000 square metres in size. The site will also provide associated parking and a 1000 square-metre shared services facility.
The Whitby Group is partnering with international group InvoCare to provide a privately owned facility to service Canberra’s south. InvoCare is a leading provider of funerals, cemeteries, crematoria and related services in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
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Purdon says the development would be complementary to the possible Long Gully Road Cemetery planned by the ACT Government.
The proponent is consulting with relevant stakeholders and community groups to gain feedback during the early stages of the proposal.
Purdon says the proposal would provide the south side of Canberra with a crematorium and associated facilities in a low impact, rural setting.
The development would be in two stages – crematorium, administration building and shared services; followed by a celebration room and memorial park.
Purdon presented the proposal to the Woden Valley Community Council on 3 October.
Minister for City Services Chris Steel said there was more work to do in determining the best approach to a new cemetery and crematorium for Canberra.
He said a market sounding was under way to seek views from organisations and private sector parties in the cemeteries and crematoria industry on different delivery options for the proposed Southern Memorial Park, and the role of the private sector in operating and managing cemeteries and crematoria in the ACT more broadly.
Expressions of interest for the market sounding process closed on 21 September 2018, and this process was still ongoing, he said.
The ACT Government would also soon undertake community engagement as part of a review of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003, to help to identify regulatory changes that will ensure management of cemeteries and crematoria in the ACT is contemporary, sustainable and flexible, and meets the needs of all Canberrans.
“At this stage, we do not have details of what size or services a new private crematorium might provide. As part of the response to the recent Inquiry into the Management of Cemeteries in the ACT, the Government agreed that the development of a second crematorium in the ACT was an important priority,” Mr Steel said.
He said the Woden Cemetery would be fully subscribed by the end of 2018 for most major faiths.
“There are a number of plots at the Woden Cemetery that have been pre-sold. These will still be available for burial when required. When Woden Cemetery is fully subscribed in late 2018, all burials and interments will be transferred to Gungahlin Cemetery. The Gungahlin Cemetery has at least 25 years of capacity remaining,” Mr Steel said.