Cemeteries Running Out of Space

    Every so often the public papers will run a couple of stories on how cemeteries are running out of space, then promptly drop the story.  It is an odd occurrence I have seen repeated ever few years and something I should address eventually.

    Essentially there is not a land shortage at the cemeteries, despite the exaggerations and simplifications of the news papers.  I am sure many trust the papers as a reliable and accurate source of information, but it is simply untrue.  Admittedly it is a rather fun story, a twist on the land issues and urban development.

    Waverley is a popular example of this worry, as it cannot expand due to urban surroundings and is an old cemetery which has been operating for a long time.  So it is often assumed that Waverley is full, or at least very close to being full.  As such Waverley have signs up around the place stating that new plots are available to 'combat' this assumption.

    I have heard estimates stating that Rookwood will run out of space in 2020, and in 2030, and in 2050.  These are mostly verbal assertions, but can also be found in Larkins book "Funeral Rights" (2007).  None of these estimates provide any solid evidence or reasoning for their dates, they simply state it and move on.  Even if these estimates are correct the closest dates given are for 2020, at least seven more years away, nearly a decade.  So hardly the immediate worry that the papers claim it to be.

    Another thing to remember is the rise in cremation, which passed burial in the 1990s.  Cremation is cheaper and now more popular than burial and continuing to grow.  More and more people go with cremation as time goes on.  While the death rate is set to rise burial will only rise modestly as many will turn to cremation instead.  So these estimates based on current figures are not going to be reliable in the future as they do not take cremation into account.

    Many also forget the expansion of cemeteries, we do not just build more but build them bigger.  Take Macquarie Park for example, it recently opened a whole new section in 2011 and has future sections waiting.  Through opening new areas regularly over time Macquarie Park can constantly expand on the same site.  Many other cemeteries are planning similar things, such as Woronora cemetery which has plans to expand into the nature reserve (which are being opposed by locals).

    The concerns over a cemetery land crisis are unfounded.  These concerns illustrate a serious lack of knowledge about the funeral industry and how sensationalist and incorrect assumptions are made of the industry.  The papers publish a few minor articles of this land issue, then drop the topic and have nothing else before we have the opportunity to discuss the industry properly.

    This short and sensational style of story never affords us a chance to actually talk about the funeral industry.  Instead it gets distorted then forgotten.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Never hesitate to ask a question or comment on something, this is an open minded and free space.

If you want to contact me privately do so at: theothersideoffunerals@gmail.com