Those looking to be buried in Queanbeyan will no longer be able to reserve a plot at one of the city’s cemeteries due to a temporary pause.
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has announced a moratorium on sales of pre-purchase right of interments, also known as a reserved plot, at Queanbeyan General Cemetery.
General manager Rebecca Ryan said the decision was made to manage demand.
“In terms of our burial plots, we need about 200 a year to cope with the demand.”
The cemetery currently has 272 unreserved plots, with another 100 plots intended to be made available next year after council undertakes works.
This should manage expected demand for the coming two years until the planned new Memorial Park was constructed and opened, Ms Ryan said.
“To make sure we have places available, we’ve had to stop reserving plots.”
A total of 1440 plots have already been reserved and set aside for specific individuals.
There are still spaces for those wishing to be cremated.
Ms Ryan said Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council had been working to expand the number of available plots in recent years.
This involved purchasing back reserved plots no longer wanted.
“We always do a bit of an audit on the reserved plots,” Ms Ryan said.
Ms Ryan said Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council was expecting the moratorium would last two years until the new cemetery was operational.
The new cemetery and memorial park will be located on the corner of Old Cooma Road and Burra Road, near Googong. Council purchased the land in 2017.
The land has since been re-zoned to allow for the cemetery to be built. Studies have also been carried out on the site.
“We have plans in place for a new memorial garden out there, but that’ll take about two years to open.”
Ms Ryan said council was expecting documents for a development application to be submitted to the NSW Government by July.
Consultation with community members and stakeholders is expected to open in May or June to put together a Master Plan.
“As soon as we’ve got the new cemetery open, we can stop the moratorium,” she said.
Ms Ryan encouraged anyone feeling worried or distressed by the news to come forward and speak with council.
“We appreciate that burials, and organising your plot, is a very emotional and stressful thing to do.
“That’s why we need to make sure we actually have room for people who need it.”
Ms Ryan said there were options for those who wished to be buried alongside family members, but they needed to come forward.
“Whilst it’s a bit stressful for people who want to get organised, I’d rather make sure we have a spot for them as opposed to having no burial plots available.”