Ex-mayor backs crematorium plan

CLARENCE Valley Council's decision to investigate possible sites to build a crematorium is well overdue, according to a former Grafton mayor.

Bob Liddiard, who was mayor of Grafton between 1976 and 1982, said he had pushed to establish a crematorium in Grafton in the late 1970s.

Mr Liddiard said his crematorium proposal initially received 'pretty warm interest' from councillors and enquiries into establishing a facility began.

“The site we had planned for it was adjacent to the Grafton Lawn Cemetery at Braunstone,” Mr Liddiard said.

“We even went to the extent of having plans drawn up and we had at least three funeral directors who said they were prepared to put money into it.

“It was a hot topic at the time but it nearly got through. But at the final vote it was narrowly defeated.”

Mr Liddiard said that at the time of his proposal, there was no crematorium in Coffs Harbour and a local crematorium would have serviced Inverell to Yamba, and down to Kempsey.

“I still think a crematorium would be justified in this area; the population is creeping up all the time,” he said.

Jim Summers, from Grafton and District Funerals, said he submitted a development application for a crematorium to the former Grafton council about eight years ago.

“I was ready to build it at the Clarence Lawn Cemetery seven or eight years ago,” Mr Summers said.

“My figures showed I wasn't going to make any money - it's definitely not a cash cow - but I was happy to do it as a service.

“But Maclean council was looking at building one in Maclean at the time and there wasn't any need for two.

“(Looking at it now, though) I'm not totally convinced we even need one.”

Clarence Valley councillors voted on Tuesday to begin an investigation into potential sites for a local crematorium. A report is expected to be completed within the next few months.

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