Plans for an extra 3500 plots at Gracemere Cemetery
A PROPOSED development of the Gracemere Cemetery could see space increased by 3500 sites.
But Rockhampton Regional councillors in yesterday's parks and recreation committee meeting were keen to stress the development was not creating a "super cemetery".
Instead, they said the development, which would be completed in three stages, was a necessary part of providing for one of the region's fastest-growing areas and would accommodate the area for decades to come.
This angered Gracemere Community Voice member Gary Lynch, whose parents are buried at the cemetery.
Last Monday, he told The Morning Bulletin he was worried people from Rockhampton would be buried in Gracemere in the future due to lack of space in Rockhampton cemeteries.
The concept plans, including staging for the development, were presented to council yesterday after a 2014 report on the utilisation of the region's cemeteries and their future capacity.
The concept plans were laid on the table at the April 7 parks and recreation committee meeting, allowing council to finalise rescission of a 2011 decision to lease part of the area to the Gracemere Redbacks Football Club.
The proposed stage one includes provision for an amenities block and the establishment of an embellished memorial garden for the interment of ashes.
The existing timber fence will be removed, creating "open vistas" across the cemetery.
Stage one is designed to fit within the existing cemetery.
In the meeting councillor Ellen Smith said people she had spoken to had supported an expanded memorial garden.
Mayor Margaret Strelow said the cemetery would not discriminate based on location, but she was "acutely aware of the importance of history" when expanding the cemetery.
Councillor Rose Swadling said the expansion would be a "great outcome" for the community, with a focus on future growth.
Councillor Cherie Rutherford said there was "absolutely no reason" public consultation could not start now, something which had always been planned once the concept plans were presented to council.
A motion was carried authorising the proposed development area to be changed from Reserve for Park to Reserve for Cemetery. The plans will be presented for public consultation before authorisation.