At its public meeting on 26 June, Murrindindi Shire Council discussed a proposal from the Kinglake Cemetery Trust to amend the Murrindindi Planning Scheme. to be developed and used for cemetery purposes without the need for a planning permit. Council resolved not to support the amendment. If the amendment was approved, it would have allowed the land at 265 Whittlesea-Kinglake Road in Kinglake
Deputy Mayor Leigh Dunscombe said although the proposal had some history behind it, it was important to understand that he did not oppose the idea of a cemetery in Kinglake.
“My opposition rests wholly and solely with the level of community consultation, the lack of detail and the reluctance of the committee to engage with the community in an open and honest manner or indeed to consider alternative ideas,” Cr Dunscombe said.
“This proposal isn’t even about the establishment of a cemetery. It’s about declaring a pristine piece of public land in the Frank Thompson Reserve as suitable for nothing else but a cemetery or crematorium in perpetuity and removing the community’s right to object, consider alternative uses or even be consulted.
“The community would be aware that a request for a similar proposal was put to Council a few years ago. The land adjacent to Frank Thompson Reserve is currently zoned as ‘Other Public Use (PUZ7)’. The proposed change was to make it a ‘Public Use Zone – Cemetery/Crematorium (PUZ5)’ for the purpose of establishing a cemetery. That proposal was rejected by Council at the time due to concerns the community had not been properly consulted.
“When the initial proposal was rejected, Council communicated to the Kinglake Cemetery Trust that if it wanted to resubmit a proposal for another amendment, it needed to meet a number of conditions for it to be successful.
“Unfortunately the new proposed amendment does not, in Council’s opinion, address those conditions properly. Council believes that any new or alternative public use of the land concerned must be informed by a broader concept plan and vision to ensure the proper planning and integration with adjoining and nearby public land. No design plans were submitted with this application,” Cr Dunscombe said.
“Importantly, the consultation process didn’t give the community a chance to come together to meet and discuss the proposal. The consultation conducted didn’t engage the people who raised objections to the idea when a similar proposal was raised with Council a few years ago. The submitted letters of support for this proposal were based on obscure and emotive questions which did not clearly articulate the location of the proposed site and its proximity to Frank Thompson Reserve,” Cr Dunscombe added.