Funerals in Fraser Coast parks and gardens - Scott Harris (g/mgr. Ross Funerals).
Funerals in Fraser Coast parks and gardens - Scott Harris (g/mgr. Ross Funerals). Alistair Brightman

Public to decide on funerals in Fraser Coast parks, gardens

COUNCILLORS have agreed to let the public decide whether funerals should be held in public parks and gardens.

Councillors voted 9-1 at Wednesday's meeting to approve the motion, with only councillor Denis Chapman opposing the concept.

Residents will now be asked for feedback on whether funerals with or without caskets should be held in selected parks and gardens, while the council will seek feedback from funeral directors interested in holding the services.

A list of suitable locations to host the funerals is expected to be developed by the council during the consultation process.

But the controversial move has drawn mixed reaction from the region's funeral directors.

General manager of Ross Funerals Scott Harris said he had been approached by a number of families who had asked for the option to host funerals in public parks.

He said the company had limited options for hosting funerals in such spaces outside their on-site gardens.

"Further extending our options to parks and public spaces gives these families a different location that we can provide for," Mr Harris said.

"It's very progressive of our council to take the wishes of some in the community and put it out for public feedback."

But J Kirk and Sons manager Jim Kirk said he thought the move was "unnecessary" because there was no public call for it. "I've worked in the industry for more than 60 years, and we've only had three or four requests over that whole time to host it in a public space," he said.

However, Mr Kirk said he would still accept the proposal and carry out people's wishes if they asked.

Councillor Paul Truscott, who first proposed the motion earlier this year, said he understood concerns the public might have about the proposal, but felt death should "never be a taboo topic."

"Two things in life are guaranteed, death and taxes," Cr Truscott said.

"That's why community consultation on this plan will be an important and interesting process.

"We might be the first council in Queensland to formally address this issue." A link will be uploaded to the council's website later this year.


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