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"To the Barricades, Comrades!"

The luvvies had their day on the street yesterday – about 150 in all by my count. And vocal they were on the subject of what should be done with the bodies of people who have decided, or who have had decided for them that they wish to be cremated.

Quite aside from the judgment of Karl Edmonds, and his child coffin of so called signatures – most of which appeared to have been obtained under false pretences, the objectives of the march were not quite clear, though cremation anywhere near Grahamstown is clearly unacceptable. The NIMBY principle is being promoted vigorously.

The main objective now appears to be to persuade the TCDC to somehow come up with the funding in order to establish an open crematorium at Totara Cemetery – a solution that was informally ruled out previously by Council representatives, and Ngati Maru following an approach by Catran. Now Hammond on behalf of the Council claims that Catran did “not follow through on his inquiry.”

What on earth does that mean? – that somehow he needed to spend a great deal of money seeking allocation of land, resource consents and building approvals in the face of fair warning that such a solution was unlikely in view of the designation of the land as a cemetery reserve, and availability of a suitable site, not to say the adamant opposition of Ngati Maru to cremation activities on what is probably their most significant tribal whenua, regardless of their current responsive position on the matter.

Then there is the question of cost to which Adrian Catran drew attention so succinctly in his Campbell Live interview last evening. Let the luvvies form a trust or limited liability company to pursue their ambitions, after of course raising at least three quarter of a million to fund it.

The whole idea of our Community Board being asked to come up with this level of funding at this stage of the long term and Annual planning process is mind boggling, and why should it when a private operator is prepared to fund and operate it – such a suggestion is outrageous and completely contrary to philosophy of encouraging private enterprise to which our Council has committed itself with such fervour.

As for the Grahamstown site – Hammond put it succinctly when subject to a barrage of ignorant questions from the luvvies (including Catherine Delahunty who did not appear on the Campbell clip) he indicated that it was his understanding that there were modern cremators available that had zero emissions that would not require intervention by the Council – subject of course to passing the WRC and Health Department tests.

His waffling about building consents etc. in the course of his ‘door-stopper’ simply confused the issue, and that in short the Council has next to no ability to stop Catran from proceeding with his plans to install a cremator – and neither it should, regardless of the frustration and fury of the 150 protesters. The law is the law, and there is not a dammed thing thing they can do about it.

They should remember that there are 8,000 residents in this town and thousands of others on the Peninsula who have no interest in their protest, and who in the main look forward to establishment of a modern cremator that will significantly reduce funeral costs, and who have little interest where it happens.

If Catran is prepared to weather the storm, and still remain prepared to invest this significant amount in the town after the visit of the manufacturer’s representative later this month, then good luck to him. Perhaps the protesters should await completion of the building renovations before rushing to judgment about a matter about which they have demonstrated they have zero knowledge, and unsubstantiated fears.  




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Reader Comments (3)

Theres a rumour that David Hammond signed the petition yesterday when the protesters turned up at Council.

April 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSailing Away

If that is true, it would have been extremely unwise, but quite in character!

April 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBill

He signed an 'acceptance of the petition' document to say the 2000 odd forms had been received. No rumour. Just a request from the petitioners. The problem is now what to do with them. No elected person anywhere in sight.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Jeffares

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