Council changes plans for cemetery, cuts crematorium

Beth and Geoff Smith, Brian and Joanna Hartfield and Wendy Hubbard are opposed to the proposed cemetery at Googong. Photo: Karleen Minney.
Beth and Geoff Smith, Brian and Joanna Hartfield and Wendy Hubbard are opposed to the proposed cemetery at Googong. Photo: Karleen Minney.

Residents opposing the proposed memorial park in Googong have had a win with the council voting to remove the possibility of a crematorium at the site.

The proposed cemetery, at the corner of Old Cooma and Burra Roads, has been a contentious issue, particularly for residents at the nearby Mt Campbell estate.

Member for Monaro John Barilaro wrote to the council and met with Mayor Tim Overall to suggest the Googong site be ruled out and a different location be selected.

During the administration period it was determined that council would submit a gateway proposal to the NSW government. A series of scoping works are being undertaken by council to ascertain the suitability of the site.

The gateway proposal, as currently worded, would have changed the zoning of the parcel of land to allow cemeteries and crematoriums, of which the latter was particularly concerning to local residents.

At last week’s meeting Cr Kenrick Winchester moved the word crematorium be removed from any future plans, which would mean a crematorium could not be included in any developments.

Cr Winchester said he was responding to the community’s concerns.

“I thoroughly believe the council has listened and done the right thing in this instance," Cr Winchester said.

“A crematorium on the site would be reliant on a gas pipeline being constructed all the way along Old Cooma Road, which would cost a fortune and be unlikely to ever happen. “It was common sense to remove it from the proposal.”

Cr Overall, who supported the proposed memorial park at the site and approved starting the process as administrator, supported Cr Winchester’s motion after advice from council staff, he said.

He emphasised that only the commencement of the planning proposal had been determined, not the memorial park itself and that council could decide whether to proceed or not. 

He said considering the infrastructure concerns it was “reasonable to exclude the crematorium from future planning”.

He added that decisions in future would involve “considerable public consultation”.

Mt Campbell resident Wendy Hubbard, who along with husband Paul has led the case against the crematorium, welcomed the decision.

“Now that the crematorium won’t go ahead I am confident the whole cemetery won’t be going ahead,” Mrs Hubbard said. 

“It’s not so much that the cemetery has been put in our community, but that particular parcel of land is just wrong.”

Paul Hubbard submitted a petition opposing the cemetery at last week’s meeting with almost 400 signatures.

Cr Winchester agreed the site was the wrong choice and the community would be better served with a location somewhere between Queanbeyan and Bungendore.

He said with the two towns’ cemeteries reaching capacity and the improved Kings Highway the option made sense.