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The 'Luvvies' Are On The March!

Last evening I attended the meeting initiated by Karl Edmonds of, and at the GBH to further discuss the vexed question of a “crematorium in the midst of businesses, café’s & homes???” About 20 ‘concerned’ people attended, and I have no reason to change my previous description of the group as the “Grahamstown Luvvies.”

The balance of people present were Community Board members and staff. But there was a strange absence of many of those who have been most vocal in recent weeks. My impression at the end of the meeting was that the heat had come out of the issue when those present suddenly realised that they had been busy ‘chasing rabbits up holes.’

Board Manager Greg Hampton was the main speaker, and did pretty well considering that  he was discussing a pure supposition, while endeavouring to maintain absolute  neutrality on what has unnecessarily become an thoroughly emotive issue through the deliberate misinformation campaign mounted principally by Karl Edmonds.

Greg indicated that Adrian Catran had merely made inquiries as to requirements for placing a cremator – not a “crematorium” which normally incorporates a chapel and other public facilities, in the old Judd foundry building on the Placemaker site, portion of which he has purchased. He emphasised that there was really nothing to talk about until Adrian had made up his mind which direction he proposed to follow, and actually made appropriate applications to Council.

Council building and planning department people had advised Adrian that they could not advise him on the need for a building permit or resource consent until plans with full details had been presented. But Greg did emphasise that the property had an industrial/commercial designation, that Council staff had nevertheless discussed internally the possible siting of the cremator at length, but that until more detail had been provided by Adrian C. that there little more they could do.

Greg did provide dubious information regarding the Council’s ability to establish a “crematorium” at Totara Cemetery for anyone to use. As usual, there was decided reticence regarding who would pay for it – the utter naivety amongst the Luvvies regarding what could amount to a half million dollar investment is staggering.  He further emphasised that everything that had been done to date with regard to the old Judd building in regard to maintenance and renewal on the existing footprint was within the right of the building owner to undertake. However, he did state that the Council was maintaining a very close “watching brief” and that it would await “triggers” arising from the actual activity on the site.

There followed a series of questions and ad honimen statements from the floor about the project and A. Catran in particular that demonstrated unbelievable ignorance and prejudice amongst those attending, together with a cavalier attitude towards his rights as a commercial property owner. It appeared that most of those present believed that they had some God-given right to know more about what Adrian C. was planning before Adrian C. knew himself - i.e Some Luvvy  quoted triumphantly and at length about Section 38 of the Act by which the Director of Public Health needs to approve the placement of a cremator anywhere -  “So why has the Council not complained to the Health Department?” About what, one may ask?

The meeting then faded away into what was a totally predictable confused outcome with the participants as ignorant/indignant as when they started. I wish them well for their march planned for 22 April from GBH to the Council, together with their 1,700 signature petition, mostly obtained under false pretences. Karl Edmonds has stirred up TV3’s Campbell Live who clearly love this sort of thing and he hopes that they will come to the march to help develop national interest in the cause. There is nothing like petitions on cremation, 1080, and fluoride to get the juices going, and prolong the agony in this town. TV3 could just about set up an office here to feed off the concerns of the Luvvies from close to the ‘big smoke.’  

Hopefully, A. Catran will take the wind from their sails by announcing when he is ready precisely what it is he is planning, and address a public meeting with details that have been necessarily absent to date, but which may encourage cooler heads in the community to come out in support. Otherwise this may become another commercial venture that migrates with John Tregidga’s tacit encouragement to Paeroa – probably more central for such a facility anyway.  And Grahamstown can struggle on as it has for 150 years, without a cremator - joy!




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Reader Comments (2)

Man this whole thing is shonky-- so much so I hoped in the car and shot into Thames to make a few enquiries of my own. Didn't take long to suss out this more of a personal attack then one based on facts. One shop owner told me they had not been approached at all but two customers who had signed the form, now knowing what they do, want to remove their names from the list. Another man told of trying to buy a coffee in the Depot and was asked to sign the form. He refused as he knew the funeral home concerned and told the lady that it would be all kosher what was happening--the arguement came so intense he told her 'he liked the smell of a good barbeque ' and left without getting his coffee. It seems to me to be a real kangaroo court- with no recourse to the funeral home concerned- and from what I can gather from a good friend of mine, the form is actually incorrect in that there is no pace at Totara cemetery for a cremator. Nor will there be any smell or a great big chimney belching black smoke. Not sure what the pub guy is thinking, but I sense he is rapidly losing support [and apparently a customer or two] and maybe he has bitten off more than he can chew on this one--time will tell
Oh well that is life in a small town -think I will stick to living in the country.
April 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBig Foot

April 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBig Foot

Ha ha. It was on Campbell live tonite where that restaurant/ bar owner from GBD was going on about the supposed smell of a modern hi-tech crematorium, which is about non-existent, when his own establishment, being a restaurant/Bar, is about the smelliest line of business around excluding abbatoirs and breweries!.

Of course some would say that restuarants/bars only make nice smells, although I personally just hate the smells of pancakes and crepes cooking. Give me a brewery any day over that (but not an abbatoir).

Funny thing, the abbatoir that operated on the main road into Thames from Kopu used to smell like hell sometimes. And when it closed nearly every businessman in Thames was up in arms about it and wanted to keep it open!

Probably whatshisface from GBD was one of them too.

April 14, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterxxx

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