Complaints - Please scroll to the bottom of the page
« Who is Loopy? | Main | Destination Coromandel »

Cremator Blues!

Our Council issued a Press Release yesterday that almost beggars belief:

“We continue to encourage anybody who is interested in putting in a cremator to come and have a pre-lodgement meeting with us to give us a detailed proposal, so that our planning team can provide clear advice.

We have also sought a legal opinion which we have shared with all affected parties suggesting a cremator in Grahamstown would likely need a resource consent.

"Due to the high public interest and sensitivity around this issue, our elected members would also prefer that with the mutual agreement of the applicant, if resource consent is needed that it be publicly notified even if that wasn't required," says Mayor Glenn Leach.  

"An example of where we've done this previously was with the applicants wanting to subdivide land at New Chum Beach," says Mayor Leach. "In that case it was mutually agreed to publicly notify the consent due to significant public interest even though it didn't need to be publicly notified."

Meanwhile any application for a cremator would also still need to be submitted to the Waikato Regional Council and the Ministry of Health.

In the past our Council has considered both Totara and Omahu cemeteries as potential sites to locate a cremator but no formal or detailed planning has taken place. We would need to consider the space requirements and whether there is sufficient land area to accommodate this without compromising future burial space.

Currently there are no plans to establish a crematorium on Council cemetery land but if approached we would be open to receiving proposals. Any proposals would likely require engagement with the public.

A proposal for locating a crematorium on cemetery land would also be required to go through the same planning and consent processes as would a site proposal within the township including considering issues such as zoning, effects, building consent requirements, Waikato Regional Council and Ministry of Health approvals.”

The only possible reason for this 'advisory' is that it is in response to the ill-tempered letter that appeared in last week's HH from Debbie Brooke. Not only was this letter designed to raise irrational anti-cremator passions amongst all who read it, but it contained lies and mis-information on a grand scale.The HH may have thought it was performing a 'public service' by publishing it, but to do so without seeking a response from the company, or person at whom it was aimed was in fact a 'dis-service,' and an indictment of its journalistic practices. It only redeemed itself by publishing the reasonable and rational letter from Anne Hay-Smith alongside. 

On what basis does the Council imagine that it has the right to interfere with a legitimate business in this manner - certainly it has nothing to do with the designation of the site on which it has been suggested a cremator may be placed. And to compare this with New Chum is a total distortion - the New Chum proposal was not a permitted activity while the cremator certainly is permitted by any interpretation of the Act.

And how could the document obtained by the anti-cremator group (at the fantastical cost of $7,000!)  constitute a legitimate ‘legal opinion’ when the writer has no information whatsoever about what is actually being proposed? This goes beyond the normal interpretation of a 'legal opinion, and at no point in the letter does the writer claim that the activity is 'illegal'. The writer is correct on that score, so our hardy band of objectors may be reading more into the letter than was intended.   

The attempts in every case to get Twentyman's to agree to submit to resource consent proceedings are nothing more that emotional clap-trap, verging on blackmail when combined with the public threats on the anti- cremator group's website, both against Twentyman's, and the Council.

The reference to the need for WRC and Health Department approvals are a well worn mantra – no-one has ever suggested otherwise. The fact that there are already 52  other cremators operating within cities and towns in New Zealand - 33 in private ownership, and many within close proximity to cafes etc. will indeed make any objection from those quarters unlikely, and easily challenged.

And what is meant when Council says on the one hand that it has a legal opinion that "suggests that a cremator in Grahamstown would likely need a resource consent," and on the other quote Mayor Leach as stating that "our elected members would also prefer that with the mutual agreement of the applicant, if resource consent is needed that it be publicly notified even if that wasn't required."? If Board members have expressed such an opinion, it is more likely a reflection of their wavering courage leading up to the 2016 Election, combined with what is obviously a very limited understanding of the Resource Management Act.

Leaving aside the convoluted mashing of the English language by the Mayor, a resource consent is either needed, or not needed - it can't be both, The Mayor's pathetic attempts to publicly 'muddy the waters' in this manner is reprehensible, if not a deliberate attempt to pressure the supposed applicant into entering into an extremely expensive course of action that is simply not a legal requirement. This should concern owners of all industrial/commercial designated land anywhere in this District – what does this action by Council tell them about the certainty of their commercial interests?

Aside from the resource consent issue, has our Council descended to the level of the objectors and taking their side in this totally unnecessary imbroglio? Does today's Press Release itself constitute a threat to a legitimate business which is doing nothing more that proposing a long overdue and perfectly legal service for the benefit of this town and district?

There is absolutely no reason why Twentymans's should respond in the manner suggested by Council, and our erstwhile Mayor. In fact, it would appear to create an unfortunate precedent were it do so. I have no idea whether or not Twentyman's (Adrian Catran) intends to proceed with the proposed cremator - it appears a highly speculative business proposition, but if he does decide to proceed, on whatever time scale he considers appropriate for his business purposes - good luck to him!

The objectors should consider the time and money already wasted (a $7,000 so-called "legal opinion" for example), stop telling lies about alternative cremator sites, and causing unnecessary distress – particularly amongst the elderly and the impressionable, and get on with running their own legitimate businesses - just like Adrian Catran.

On the other hand, they could pool their resources and set about obtaining the necessary consents, approvals and services necessary to run a crematorium at Totara Cemetery – Adrian Catran has already indicated that he would support such a service were they to make it available. Good luck in that regard!



PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (1)

Thought the TCDC role was in relation to the District Plan--i.e-- whether it is an 'permitted , discretionary, non-complying or prohibited activity' .
Those I have spoken to believe it is a 'permitted activity' under an Industrial or service activity, which the land in question is zoned and the current plan allows also for a cemetery to be included on the site!!!
The big question as to whether the proposed cremator can meet the requirements of the Waikato regional Council regarding emmission, this is the real fundamental test. That test, as I understand, is done once the cremator is installed!
Interestingly enough, the neighbouring Regional Council, BOP, has no requirements for a human incinerator --only for industrial units!!. Maybe they are aware that the modern cremator/furnace/incinerator is so precisely controlled that there is no odour, no human particulate or anything else being emitted from the exhaust stack.
Which begs the question: what is the Mayor on about regarding 'public consultation'. the Councillors are elected to ensure that the District Plan is not breached and are in a position to do this without undue pressure being applied by a few anti Catran/cremator people [the mix is about 50/50] -- time to move forward in some peoples thinking!

July 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnubis

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>