Cardboard boxes for coffins
Geoff Chambers | June 3rd, 2009
THE Gold Coast could soon have its first green cemetery -- a massive, unmarked 'compost' burial site.
At this week's budget session, councillors unanimously endorsed a $30,000 design process to build an eco-friendly graveyard opposite the Mudgeeraba cemetery.
Mudgeeraba councillor Ted Shepherd said the Gold Coast would be the first major Australian city to establish the new-age cemetery.
There would be no markings on the grave sites and loved ones would be able to use GPS or marker rocks to find their deceased relatives.
In a green cemetery, remains are interred with nothing artificial, including jewellery, belt buckles and even breast implants.
"They already have one in Launceston and a small one in Lismore but this is a great opportunity for the council to move forward and become a leader in the industry," said Cr Shepherd.
"We already have an ageing population and we're actively looking at green, climate-friendly projects, and this would be a great start. We're running out of space in this city."
He identified the old Mudgeeraba quarry as a potential site.
"I realise that the rock base might not be the best but we can always remove surface material and backfill the site," he said.
Under the plan, wooden coffins would be replaced with 'cardboard' biodegradable boxes.Cr Shepherd said the bodies and boxes would decompose naturally into the soil.
Mayor Ron Clarke, a septuagenarian, endorsed the proposal and hinted he could be a future customer.
"I'm more interested in it than most," said Cr Clarke.
The idea was first proposed by Mudgeeraba funeral home, A Gentle Touch Funerals, in February.
The Mudgeeraba cemetery is not large enough to accommodate the green cemetery.
Council officers will investigate the legal implications of establishing the green cemetery and whether it breaches any local laws.
Several local funeral homes have also expressed interest in the green cemetery.