Crematorium confusion cleared up

COLIN WILLIAMS
Last updated 09:56 31/08/2012

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Upper Hutt Leader

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Planning of an upgrade of the crematorium at the Akatarawa Cemetery is continuing.

Funeral directors Gee and Hickton have confirmed they are carrying on with the plans despite a recent "misunderstanding" and an indication the rebuild plans were to be put on hold.

"Gavin Murphy [G&H manager] has advised that the architects are still working on a proposal," Upper Hutt parks and reserves manager Brett Latimer told Friday's Hutt Valley Services Committee.

Agreement at the committee's previous meeting that assistance should be offered to help in the locating of a crematorium in the Lower Hutt area, and the media reporting of it, had caused some concern.

"Gee and Hickton has advised that the proposal for a new crematorium on the existing site at the cemetery has been put on hold as it appears the goalposts regarding establishment of a similar crematorium in Hutt City has changed," a report initially prepared by Mr Latimer for Friday's meeting said.

A late update to the committee, which administers the cemetery on behalf of the two valley councils, said there had been a now recognised misunderstanding "and the intent of the comments [has] now been explained to Gee and Hickton and they have reaffirmed their intention to rebuild the crematorium".

"The possibility of establishing a crematorium in Lower Hutt . . . has led to confusion and has resulted in Gee and Hickton considering their future investment.

"The establishment of a privately operated cremator is not considered to be a council business. However should Hutt City wish to establish such a facility then it should be a Hutt City Council issue," Mr Latimer's original report said.

No formal application, or plans, had been received for any upgrade, councillors were told.

"At this stage the architect has gone back to the crematorium supplier to redesign the roof height to accommodate a larger crematorium to ensure that it is compatible with the environment at Akatarawa," Mr Latimer said.

"Gee and Hickton have advised that they will keep council updated with progress on this development."

Mr Murphy said afterwards he was now "relaxed" about continuing with the upgrade planning at Akatarawa after initially being concerned about possible plans for a Lower Hutt crematorium.

"If there was going to be one there, we'd want to be part of the planning but we are now relaxed."

The planned upgrade at Akatarawa would cost about $700,000, he said.

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