Residents are being encouraged to have their say on a plan that will guide the future of 12 city cemeteries.
Cessnock Council’s Cemeteries Masterplan is on public exhibition until March 13.
The future of local cemeteries has been topical of late after council’s recent rejection of the NSW Government’s cemetery legislation.
The government’s changes introduced in June 2018 under the Cemetery and Crematoria Regulation 2018 enable cemetery operators to allow graves to be rented for a period of 25 years to 99 years for people who cannot afford a permanent site.
This concerned the community as many families have been here for generations and the changes could have implications for residents both past and present.
Council said in a statement that the future of Cessnock cemeteries was important to all residents and that it developed the masterplan following comprehensive community engagements.
The engagement was undertaken in two phases. The first phase focused on educating the community and gathering thoughts and ideas about cemeteries. Phase two presented the first draft of the masterplan and the guiding principles to the community that will inform any future decisions about cemeteries.
Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent said this was a sensitive and important project that couldn’t be undertaken without community input.
“The community feedback was positive and really valuable in helping council develop the masterplan,” he said. “We understand that any changes need to be respectful not only to those who have been laid to rest but for their loved ones who use our cemeteries as places for reflection and memory.”
Masterplans were produced for the LGA’s two lawn cemeteries, the Gordon Williams Memorial Lawn Cemetery and the Kurri Kurri General and Lawn Cemetery. Recommendations were developed for the others.
The plan can be viewed at: Council’s Administration Building, Branxton Post Office, Cessnock and Kurri Kurri Public Libraries and online at cessnock.nsw.gov.au.
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