RESIDENTS are ‘‘disgusted and traumatised’’ by a proposed funeral home and mortuary at Kingsgrove, and hold Hurstville Council partly to blame.
People living near the Stoney Creek Road site of Afterlife Funerals fear bodies will be unloaded at all times of the day and night and that children will suffer psychological damage.
They claim the business is already operating, despite it being before the Land and Environment Court, because they have seen coffins being delivered and hearses driving up and down the back lane.
The business backs onto a lane running beside the Donald Street home of Don Gordon who has advanced brain cancer.
Their lounge window and outside living area is about four metres from the funeral home’s backyard.
Dr Gordon and wife Gloria Paduano organised a neighbourhood meeting at their home last Saturday, determined to stop the mortuary and home, and improve communications with Hurstville Council.
They said the council had not sufficiently notified people before the funeral home and mortuary’s development application (DA) went to the council in November last year.
Although the council knocked back the DA on parking and amenity issues and is now defending its position in the Land and Environment Court, Dr Gordon and Ms Paduano said better information would have enabled them to fight the matter before it went to the council.
The council said it had implemented its usual information policy, which included letters and information on its website, but Ms Paduano had found most people either did not get the letter or had not read it.
‘‘Everybody should have been notified properly,’’ Ms Paduano said. ‘‘We could have lodged an objection to the landlord before this guy had been allowed to get a foothold.
‘‘We are all absolutely horrified — cultural sensitivities [Chinese and Muslim] have been breached and the psychological welfare of our children endangered.’’
Afterlife Funerals was asked to amend its plans before the next court sitting.
At Saturday’s meeting, attended by 60 people, the neighbours formed a progress association. It hopes to help the council strengthen its case in court.
What the applicant said
Afterlife Funerals owner Scott Harris said he had a 15-year lease on the property and intended to stay, with or without a mortuary.
Mr Scott said he had moved into 333 Stoney Creek Road about a year ago to operate a funeral home — which he was still doing.
Several months after that he decided to add a mortuary (body storage) to the business, and submitted a DA to Hurstville Council.
He said it met all council and NSW Health guidelines. ‘‘If I don’t get the mortuary approved I will continue to organise funerals here,’’ he said.
What the mayor said
Hurstville mayor Steve McMahon said the council resolved to defend the appeal in support of the residents’ objections.
‘‘We have asked the court to allow residents time to consider the amended plans before making its decision,’’ he said.
‘‘We have vigorously defended this matter in the Land Environment Court and are now waiting for the court’s decision.
‘‘We are fully supportive and behind the residents on this.’’
What do you think?