Grave trouble over shortage of plots at Castle Hill

CASTLE Hill Cemetery could run out of plots in one year, even if 190 more general burial plots are created.

This was the finding of a report to The Hills Council on March 11.

A possible solution identified is to expand into the surrounding bushland.

Report author Chandi Saba, manager (financial and corporate strategy), said income from vaults had realised $150,000 for the council over the past 10 years and that there were now only 20 burial plots for sale in the cemetery.

"To make better use of the unused vault area, it is recommended that this space be converted to accommodate 190 additional general burial plots while retaining space for nine vaults," Ms Saba's report stated.

She expects the new plots to be sold within a year but "due to demand and shortage".

On the basis of her report, The Hills councillors endorsed a plan to spend $377,100 on improving and modernising the cemetery. Councillors agreed that they wouldn't look at increasing plot prices until then.

They also want to introduce an improved and continuing annual maintenance schedule into the council draft Cemetery Management Plan, and create 190 more general burial plots, as per the original recommendation of the council's previous S355 Management Committee.

The plan will be on public exhibition for 28 days before final consideration by the council.

An ecological survey of Castle Hill Cemetery, which identified endangered species of flora and fauna, was used as the basis for the draft Plan of Management produced by Pittendrigh Shinkfile Bruce.

The council was granted formal trusteeship of the cemetery by the Department of Land and Water Conservation in March 1995.

■ Should the cemetery be expanded?

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