Review of Council-managed cemeteries

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Kiama Council is reviewing its management of the three operational cemeteries at Kiama, Jamberoo and Gerringong.

General Manager Michael Forsyth said the review was to address increasing demand for the cemeteries as well as the limited space at Kiama and Gerringong.

“Kiama cemetery is our most popular cemetery but only has about 16 per cent of its area left, while Gerringong has even less, about 5 per cent of space is still available,” Mr Forsyth said.

“At the same time demand for sites at our cemeteries remains strong.”

“Council has engaged a consultant who has reviewed our operations and provided some long term options for Council to consider.”

Mr Forsyth said the most critical recommendation was for Council to allow double depth burial sites at Jamberoo and Gerringong, with the low-lying nature of Kiama cemetery ruling out this option.

“Double-depth sites are quite common in other areas and it does present the most practical solution that can be implemented quickly and easily.”

“Another option is to encourage more burials at Jamberoo, which still has around 78 per cent of its area available.”

“The review also showed we need to look at our fee structure.”

“Unlike most cemeteries, we currently charge a relatively flat fee, which would need to change to encourage people to consider double-depth sites, using Jamberoo or making cremation a more attractive option.”

“The other side of changing our fee structure, is updating the services we provide, to meet modern expectations.”

“This includes commissioning a specialised cemetery landscape architect to develop design strategies.”

Mr Forsyth said Council would be consulting key stakeholders such as local funeral directors, to gain further insight into changing preferences for burials and cremations.