Cemetery will allow new family areas

Due to open 2016

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 29/05/2014
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CHARLOTTE CURD
Heavy machinery is being used to create New Plymouth's super-cemetery.

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Earthworks have started on stage one of the Mangapouri cemetery, just outside of Egmont Village and are due to finish in July.

Mark Bruhn, New Plymouth District Council's manager of parks, said the first section of the $3 million super-cemetery would be open in 2016, about a year prior to the Awanui cemetery reaching capacity.

This would leave space for people who may want to be buried with their family members who are already in the Awanui cemetery, he said.

"Or people can begin to establish new family areas at the new cemetery," he said.

The new 20.3 hectare cemetery has been in the pipeline for about a decade and was expected to be open by 2010, but was delayed after objections from a neighbouring chicken farm in 2007.

It is now set to be developed in four stages over 50 years, with the section of land nearest the poultry farm developed last as it won't be required for at least 40 years.

The new cemetery will be adjacent to Lake Mangamahoe Forest in Plantation Rd, off State Highway 3.

The Plantation Rd and SH3 intersection has been upgraded to allow for additional traffic in and out of the site and the remodelling of Plantation Rd has already been completed and will allow for an entranceway to be built, Bruhn said.

At this stage council could not give a definite date for the opening of Mangapouri cemetery, except to say it would be in 2016.

The number of people choosing burial over cremation would impact on the opening date.

"We are updating our projections every month," he said.

Currently about 70 per cent of people in New Plymouth settle for cremation, he said.

This, along with an extension of Awanui cemetery had helped to extend the capacity of the current cemetery by about five years.

"That's been a really good thing," Bruhn said.

Mangapouri cemetery has the capacity for about 60 years of dead, including 3898 burial plots and an added 107 natural burial sites.

When the the super-cemetery opened, council would continue to maintain Awanui which meant there were extra operating costs for council.

"People have very high expectations of what cemeteries should be like," he said.

Despite this, Bruhn said there had been no indication of burial fees rising any more than inflation.

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