Graveyard nearly full
Pete Sinton's late father George used to maintain bureaucrats would be late for their own funerals if you let them.
His humorous comment could become prophetic in Kumeu.
The clock is ticking for residents whose cemetery in Waitakere Rd is rapidly running out of space.
Only 100 burial plots are left.
"This is ridiculous," Mr Sinton says.
The Kumeu-Huapai Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman says his late father's saying is fitting, as the association presses the Auckland Council to make extra room for burying the dead.
It is backing calls from the Kumeu Cemetery Board for the council to take over the cemetery and expand it by buying grazing land next door.
The South Kaipara Co-operating Parish in Helensville administers the cemetery on land held by the Auckland Anglican Diocese.
Soon the existing graveyard will be full and the church has no intention of buying more land.
"There's still that provision that the local authority is responsible for the provision of burial for the dead," Parish council chairman Selwyn Houghton says.
The residents' association advocates a council-owned non-denominational cemetery.
"We know from the Anglican Diocese the Auckland Ccuncil are talking to them about the cemetery and possible purchase," Mr Sinton says.
Meanwhile, Waikumete Cemetery manager Daniel Sales, speaking for the council, says: "We have had an initial meeting with representatives of the Anglican Diocese and we are seeking more information from them on the challenges they face at Kumeu," he says.
"No decisions have been made at this stage and our discussions will continue."
Mr Sinton says council intervention has been unnecessarily delayed.
Kumeu strawberry grower John Garelja approached the association in October to help them buy council land in Old Railway Rd.
At the same time, the Casey family of Kumeu signed an agreement to sell their 6.43 hectares east of the cemetery to the council.
Both agreements were presented to the Rodney Board in October 2011 and still stand today, Mr Sinton says.
"But the Auckland Council is still considering these options some 10 months later. The review of the council cemeteries across the Auckland region doesn't take that long to do. The council bureaucracy will strangle any community-led initiative - that is if we let it."
Mr Sinton says the former Rodney District Council promoted the "ill fated new cemetery site" in Old Railway Rd.
That scheme change was abandoned and the land transferred to the new Auckland Council.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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