Wollongong council planners have recommended the approval of a new crematorium at Unanderra, despite neighbours’ concerns about air quality and the “psychological impacts” of the facility.
Parsons Funerals lodged plans for the refit of an existing industrial block in Waverley Drive in March, prompting 26 objections about emissions and smell.
Opponents also complained a crematorium would detract from the amenity of the area, twelve people worried about the “welfare and morale” of those working nearby and three people said it went against their religious views.
According to the plans, the proposed crematorium would operate between 8am-5pm on weekdays, and 10am-2pm weekends.
In a recommendation to Wollongong’s Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel, council staff say the facility is permissible within the light industrial precinct and have advised that it should be approved subject to a number of conditions.
Applicant Alan Parsons said he was aware of health concerns, especially from workers in neighbouring properties, but said the proposal had met all the requirements of the Environment Protection Authority.
“The units we are looking to install is one of the better ones and it’s been designed to meet European health standards, which are among the most stringent,” he said.
Likewise, council assessors said they had found the company’s air quality review to be in accordance with regulations. They asked that the company be required to monitor emissions and report to the council twice a year.
Another concern raised by workers, about the “psychological, welfare and morale consequences” for those eating their lunch at the adjoining building could be remedied by erecting a 1.8 metre high fence along the boundary of the property, the council said.
If given the green light, the facility would be the third cremator in the Illawarra.
However, Mr Parsons noted the future of the ageing council-run facility – also in Unanderra – was under question.
The council has considered various proposals to exit the crematorium business over the past 10 years, and is due to consider the future of its facility – thought to be costly to replace – again this year.
“We need stability in the industry and don’t just want to be left with one supplier,” Mr Parsons said.
According to the state’s Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW (CCNSW) agency, the Illawarra’s cremation rate – of 74.9 per cent – is the third highest in the state.
The Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel will consider the plans at a public meeting next Wednesday.