Cemetery extension to serve community for next 40 years

14/02/2019 3:00 p.m.

Planning for the future isn’t only about roads, services or buildings. A lesser known consideration is where and how the community’s burial and remembrance needs will be met. This month, a project to extend the Ashburton cemetery got underway which will serve the town for another 30-40 years.

Pictured: (Left to right) ACL Contracts Engineer Tim Bain, ACL Rural Contracting Manager Contracts Engineer David Rowlands, Ashburton District Councillor Stuart Wilson, and Ashburton District Council Open Spaces Manager David Askin at the construction site of the Ashburton cemetery extension on Seafield Road.

“We’ve built bridges and roads before, but never a cemetery. It’s definitely a first”, ACL Rural Contracting Manager Contracts Engineer, David Rowlands said.

Ashburton Contracting Limited are working on behalf of the Council to transform a section of land alongside the original cemetery on Seafield Road from a vacant paddock into a burial and remembrance facility that will serve - not only the needs of a growing community, but also an increasingly culturally diverse one. As the current cemetery is quickly reaching full capacity, the extension is a necessary project for Ashburton.

More land around the new site is also earmarked to be used for future expansions, which collectively will provide cemetery space for  80 years.

“We are very lucky that the Council already owned the land adjacent to the cemetery and that it’s such a suitable place to extend the current one,” Ashburton District Councillor Stuart Wilson said. As Chair of the Council’s Service Delivery Committee, Cr Wilson’s portfolio includes overseeing 11 of the district’s open cemeteries and five closed ones.

“The proximity of the extension ties in well with the current cemetery and allows people to be able to visit their loved ones from one site, rather than a disjointed facility spread across different areas of town,” he continued.

The $1.5 million extension will include a natural burial site, a cremation and ashes scattering area, as well as a traditional grave site.

ACL began earthworks this month. They are upgrading the existing access off Seafield Road and will be constructing a new access way into the new extension, complete with entrance gate and walls. The internal roads and car parking will be sealed, and a water reticulation system will be installed throughout the site.

Internal stormwater reticulation soak pits will ensure the site is kept adequately drained.

“The design is quite smart and allows for some contingency if particular types of remembrance options go in and out of favour,” David explained.

“It really is a great asset for the community and a great community project. All of the subcontractors involved are local and the work is going really well.”

Cr Wilson agreed: “The weather has been quite optimal and they’ve [ACL] got in and made a real go of the project. We’re very pleased to see local contractors being used for such an important piece of work for Ashburton.”

ACL and the supporting local subcontractors are set to finish the project by the scheduled completion date in April.​​

Page reviewed: 14 Feb 2019 4:59pm