See Southern Courier Report  (Comment on report 3.38pm 10/5/12:  Is it just me or does anyone else think the living are more important than the dead? I respect life. Correct me if I am wrong, but is it only the wealthy, Greek, Jewish & Moslem people who can afford Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park (Botany)? Even in death it is all about money. If any persons faith is that strong, no matter what religion, they would travel anywhere to show respect for their beloved deceased. I am a believer that while you keep the person in your heart they will never die. Sherry)

In a significant announcement this morning, Randwick Mayor Scott Nash has confirmed he sees merit in a proposed expansion of the Botany Cemetery by the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, subject to resolving all planning and heritage issues in respect of any such expansion.
Cr Nash’s remarks come after a significant community response to the Council’s proposed zoning of the Chinese Market Gardens site as part of the draft Local Environmental Plan. The Council’s draft LEP, which was on public exhibition recently, proposes to zone the Chinese Market Gardens site to “RU 4”, a rural zone which prohibits cemeteries.
Cr Nash has met with the stakeholders, including local residents and recently met with the CEO of the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, Mr George Passas.
During a recent meeting, Mr Passas confirmed to Cr Nash that the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park would lodge a planning proposal with the Council to have 60% of the Chinese Market Gardens site rezoned to permit cemeteries. The remaining 40% of the market gardens would be protected. The Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park has now lodged a planning proposal with the Council, following the advice of the Department of Planning.
Cr Nash said: “Sydney is running out of burial space. The Greek, Jewish and Muslim faiths do not allow cremation. We have to respect that. This proposal appears to be an appropriate balance because it allows the Chinese Market Gardens to remain, but at the same time allows the cemetery to expand.
Subject to the planning and heritage issues being resolved, I think the proposal has merit.”
Cr Nash said he will recommend on 22 May via a Mayoral Minute, when the draft LEP is reported back to Council, that the Council at this stage support retaining the RU 4 zone (which makes cemeteries prohibited), but endorse the planning process involving the assessment of the planning proposal by Council. If the planning and heritage issues can be resolved, Cr Nash agrees that there is significant merit in allowing cemetery uses to be permissible over 60% of the existing Chinese Market Gardens site.
Media Enquiries: Scott Nash (0419 432 160)