Scattered policy

A PLAN to ban scattering ashes on Vincent council land has been revived, despite some hesitancy from elected members. 

In May Vincent staff recommended the ash-scattering fatwa as part of an update to the council’s memorial policy, arguing there were plenty of “specialised facilities” offered in Perth’s cemeteries.

Currently ashes can be scattered in places like Hyde Park, Smith’s Lake or Banks Reserve. Technically approval from the council CEO is needed, but no one in living memory has asked.

Councillors deferred 

the policy as there was no evidence it was harmful to the environment or anything else to suggest the pressing need for a ban.

Five months on and the memorial policy’s back, with the ashes ban still in the draft but lacking a solid explanation.

At this week’s council briefing mayor Emma Cole queried whether there was even a problem to solve, extracting an admission from infrastructure director Andrew Murphy that no one could recall a single application for ashes scattering in the city.

Ms Cole foreshadowed an amendment to omit the ashes ban unless some rationale could be provided before councillors vote on November 16.

“At the moment I don’t believe there to be any major problem,” she says. While the staff report states ashes could be scattered at cemeteries instead of council land, Ms Cole noted that option wasn’t free. 

It costs a minimum $190 to have the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board scatter ashes on the grounds of any of the six metropolitan cemeteries. The MCB also tries to sell the bereaved physical memorials to mark the scattering spot, emphasising “a memorial plays an important role in the grieving process”.

Those cost anywhere from $700 for a bronze plaque to $11,000 for a large granite rock. It’s even more if you want to actually attend during placement of the ashes: Monday to Friday it costs $228 to attend, and Saturday rates are $384. 

by DAVID BELL

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