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Funeral home plan comes with a ‘twist’

The proposal to turn the Maclean Services Club into a ‘funeral home’ has raised the ire of a number of Maclean residents; however, the purchaser of the building says the space will be “shared” with the community for functions other than funerals.

The sale of the building is under contract between the seller, Maclean RSL Sub-branch, and purchaser, Hope Bennett and Riverview Funerals, pending Clarence Valley Council approving a development application (DA).

Former Maclean town planner, Warren Rackham, posted on several social media sites regarding the DA.

“The current sale of the Maclean [Services] Club has been of great and indeed emotional concern to club members and the community,” he wrote.

“People have been waiting for public notification of the DA in order to be able to lodge their concerns to Council regarding the building becoming a funeral parlour.

“…However, because this proposal does have strong community concerns and interest, Council has … agreed to extend the date for submissions to 4pm Friday 10 July, 2020.”

However, the DA is not available online.

Meanwhile, a petition against the DA’s approval is being circulated, too.

Ms Bennett said that the size of the building will allow for community groups and individuals to share the space after a mutual agreement is reached.

“We will make a place available for other groups and members of the wider community, often free of charge” she said.

“It may be used for a wedding, for example, or if the CWA wants to hold a two-day craft fair; with community groups, for example, we can work around [our business’s commitments] to do that.

“We will have plenty of times when we are not using the building.

On the petition, Ms Bennett said it was “important to us that people realise it is privately-owned building” and that some of what is in the petition is “not true”.

“Some people say that we’re kicking the diggers out, but we’re offering the sub-branch a room, free of charge, until they find their own,” she said.

The planned works are relatively minor, non-structural changes to the building’s internal layout, including a chapel (60-100 people), reflections lounge and various other related spaces.

The DA does not include the provision of a mortuary facility or suggest that deceased bodies will be stored at the premises, as the applicants already operate a mortuary facility in Maclean.

Any inclusion of a coffined body at the premises for funeral services will be done so in line with the current NSW health regulations.

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