Cemetery bylaw change ahead
Cemetery bylaws in the Selwyn district could be set to change with consultation opening on a bylaw review on November 10.
The proposed Cemetery Bylaw 2017 would replace the current Cemetery Bylaw 2011 and affect the 19 council maintained cemeteries in the district.
Two of those cemeteries – Bishops Corner and Killinchy – were closed for new plot sales.
The Selwyn District Council (SDC) voted to open the proposed changes to public consultation between November 10 and December 11. SDC information services manager Neil Cookeson said council was required to review the bylaw under the Local Government Act 2002.
‘‘The changes proposed are relatively minor and mostly concern operational matters. Some changes are to meet health and safety requirement under new legislation; some are for improved operational efficiency and others to ensure the wellbeing and comfort of those visiting the facilities,’’ Cookeson said in an email.
Most of the differences in the draft bylaw were focused on meeting safe working practices under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 as well as changes in adornment and activity around cemeteries. Some of other changes included the ruling that unused plots be returned to the council after 80 years, a restriction on commercial film or photography
‘‘The changes proposed are relatively minor.’’ Neil Cookeson
in cemeteries and a requirement that all new beams be nondenominational.
Cookeson said Selwyn was moving towards nondenominational cemeteries to embrace the district’s growing cultural diversity. The change would only affect new beams, not ones already in place.
Another addition was a prohibition on camping in council cemeteries. Such a provision had not been included in the bylaw until it became necessary.
‘‘We have had one occurrence where a camper had set up for the night and was asked to move to a designated camping ground,’’ Cookeson said.
People would be able to submit their views on the draft bylaw online, or by handing in a completed submission form.
Initially put forward at the September 13 council meeting, the report was delayed after councillor Craig Watson said it would be prudent for council to consult with Te Ru¯ nanga o Taumutu and Te Ru¯ nanga o Nga¯ i Tahu before going ahead with public consultation. The proposed date for the adoption of the bylaw was March 14, 2018.
Selwyn’s cemetery bylaws are set for a change with a draft bylaw out for public consultation this month.