Crematorium a 'dead end for revitalisation'

SAM SACHDEVA
Last updated 05:00 12/10/2011

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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The Government has been asked to close a controversial Sydenham crematorium because of fears it could disrupt revitalisation efforts in the quake-hit area.

The Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board yesterday decided to write to Health Minister Tony Ryall asking that he close the Hawdon St crematorium through his powers in the Burials and Cremations Act.

The crematorium, set to open within a week, was granted non-notified consent by the Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury this year, allowing it to do up to five cremations a day and 1200 a year.

City councillors sought an alternative location but gave up last month after council staff failed to find a suitable site.

"When you're planning a new business and you know a new crematorium will only be 100 metres away from your site, you're not happy about it," board chairman Phil Clearwater said.

He said the council's search for an alternative location had been "sloppy". He also had concerns about the environmental effect of discharge from the cremator, and planned to raise the issue with Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) chief executive Roger Sutton this week.

"This has to be about what's best for Sydenham and ratepayers."

Crematorium owner John Guthrey said the latest action was "most unnecessary".

"It's disappointing that this is carrying on when there are far more important things going on."

Guthrey said he had obtained all necessary consents for the business, and had received support from other businesses in Sydenham's industrial zone.

"I'm just a law-abiding citizen going about my law-abiding job."

The crematorium would be "up and running" in a few days, Guthrey said.

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- The Press

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