A plan for a crematorium and cemetery in Farley has residents fired up, with calls for Maitland City Council to block it.
The proposed $3.2 million development would see the construction of a 300-capacity chapel, 5000-plot cemetery and memorial gardens with 10,000 niche capacity on Old North Road.
But Amanda Morris, whose property neighbours the site of the proposed development, said the community had a number of concerns including traffic and negative health impacts.
She said the protesters had found online articles from reputable sources overseas indicating there were dangers associated with cremation emissions.
“Even in the proposal, it states that there will be emissions and they will be within the standards,” she said.
“But what are the standards, and who will hold them to these? There are many studies from around the world, because crematoriums are an issue everywhere.
“Mercury in particular is a massive issue because you can’t smell it, see it, feel it or touch it – you just breath it in.”
The community group said they will write to council with their concerns.
Ms Morris added most of the residents in the rural area did not have access to town water, and relied on tank water. “It isn’t fair if they are going to let emissions get into our water tanks,” she said.
Currently, there are only four crematoriums in the region.
Ms Morris said the residents were also worried about increased traffic, after a statement of environmental effects estimated the chapel would conduct an average of eight services a week with an average of 80 people.
“We aren’t a bunch of whingers or farmers … we are a group of community members who pay our rates the same as everyone,” she said. “We just want council to come, take a look and acknowledge all the issues we are raising.”
The development would also include the construction of a tea room with car parking for 61 vehicles and overflow parking for 82 vehicles and an additional on-site effluent system.
A Change.org petition has already garnered nearly 250 signatures against the development. “We don’t oppose a crematorium or cemetery in Maitland … but we don’t want it being our doorstep,” Ms Morris added.
“We don’t think this is the area for it because there are other more remote options in the region.”
The public exhibition period will end on February 12.