Demand rising for cremations

THE rise in the number of people choosing cremation over burial has fuelled the upgrade of a cremating facility in the Bundaberg region.

Bundaberg Regional Council's planning and development committee has given Des Allen Funerals permission to add another cremator to its facility on Elliott Heads Rd.

The committee was told the company planned to increase the number of cremations it carried out from 260 to 320 a year, an increase of about 23%.

Company operator Des Allen said the trend was much more towards cremation than it used to be.

"Basically, a lot of retired people are coming here from other areas," he said.

"It's easier to be cremated so their ashes can go back to where they're from, rather than transporting a body."

Mr Allen said the number of people choosing to be cremated had crept up gradually over the years.

"Relatives would rather come here and take an urn back rather than have a grave to look after," he said.

Mr Allen said the costs of a burial and of a cremation were about the same.

Rose Chapel Funerals' Penny Levi said she thought the rise in cremations was due to a change in attitude.

She said about 95-98% of the funerals they did were cremations.

"People don't necessarily like the thought of lying there boxed up," she said.

"That doesn't appeal to younger people."

Mrs Levi said it could also be due to the rise in green sensibilities in recent years.

"People would rather be scattered somewhere than buried," she said.

The council committee was told the new cremator would need an extra chimney at the building which would be about 4m lower than the existing chimney.

The present cremator was approved by Burnett Shire Council in 2003 and had operated for years without a complaint.

Under the new conditions approved by the planning and development committee only one cremation can be carried out at a time.

Hours would be between 7.30am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday.

To read a profile on Mrs Levi's husband, David - who reckons he's heard all the dead jokes and puns there are - read tomorrow's Weekend liftout in the NewsMail.

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