A DEVELOPMENT that has been talked about for years is now set to become a reality.
It seems work could soon start on Bathurst’s long-awaited crematorium.
The only stumbling block is that council agrees to let the developers roll out the project in two stages..
However, that approval appears to be a mere formality at council’s next ordinary monthly meeting on July 20.
Councillors Bobby Bourke and Greg Westman met with Norwood Park executives last week to discuss the future of the crematorium after concerns were raised that the development was not progressing.
The meeting was also attended by council’s engineering and planning department heads.
Cr Bourke said he came away from the meeting feeling the developers are still committed, providing Bathurst Regional Council gives them permission to divide the $1.5 million project into two stages to help ease financial pressure.
The first step would be to build the cremator and carry out landscaping, while the second stage would include the construction of a chapel.
“They are still positive they want to build a crematorium,” Cr Bourke said. “They gave me assurances the first stage will be built within 12 months.
“If approval is given by council, tenders will go out right away. That process will take six to seven weeks and then building can start.”
Land adjacent to the lawn cemetery has been set aside for the crematorium and chapel, however, Cr Bourke admits it might be a couple of years before the chapel is built.
He feels this is a fair compromise because people can have their funeral services in town prior to cremation.
“I came home feeling positive that they are still on track,” Cr Bourke said.
“It has been five years. I’m glad they are still interested.”
Mayor Paul Toole agreed that plans to build the crematorium have taken ‘a big step forward’.
Cr Toole said Norwood Park was granted approval for the construction of a crematorium and chapel in April last year but so far nothing has been done.
He praised Cr Bourke for his tireless campaigning on this issue.
“I congratulate him on the effort he has put in to ensure this project becomes a reality,” Mayor Toole said.
Local resident Betty Thompson is delighted with the outcome of the meeting and hopeful council will agree to allow Norwood Park to stage the project if it hurries them along.
“I think it’s brilliant news and overdue,” she said yesterday.
“It is definitely time something is done.
“It’s good to hear that the project is now likely to happen.”
However, Mrs Thompson expressed her disappointment that plans for a chapel will be delayed.
“That’s disappointing news about the chapel but at least the project is on the move,” she said.
“I would like to see both built at the same time because they do go together.
“I’ve noticed it is becoming more common to have a graveside service only.
“A lot of people don’t want a church service.
“What will they do?” Mrs Thompson said.