Bodies buried temporarily as room runs out
FAMILIES are having to temporarily bury their loved ones, with no room left in Stanthorpe Cemetery's burial wall.
Bodies are being left in limbo as the wait on construction of a new wall continues.
Southern Downs Regional Council said new vaults would be available by the end of the year but it was little closure for families wanting to lay their loved ones to rest now.
Carnarvon Funeral Services director Raymond Mattiazzi said the issue was causing distress at the worst possible time.
"There are no vaults for pre-purchase," Mr Mattiazzi said.
"The last six vaults in the current wall have been sold and that was it - none left.
"There's one single one left but if you're, say, a husband and wife, there's nothing.
"That is the dilemma we're currently faced with. Caught between a rock and a hard place."
Worse still, corpses are being embalmed and temporarily interred, only to be moved at a later date.
"We're having to do temporary interring until the wall gets built," Mr Mattiazzi said.
"It's had to be done on three occasions so far already.
"I thought when we got the second, that council might get giddy and start another wall.
"If we have another family come in tomorrow, I'll be going through the same thing again.
"But that's the situation we're having to deal with. It's very distressing and emotional for families.
"It puts people on edge that they haven't been able to lay their loved ones properly to rest."
A council spokeswoman said funding had been set aside to begin work on a new wall.
"There is $270,000 in the capital works program for 2019-20 for the construction of the Stanthorpe Outdoor Burial Wall," she said.
"The construction of the Stanthorpe Outdoor Burial Wall was put out to community consultation as part of the budget process.
"It is envisaged that the wall will be constructed in the first quarter."
Meanwhile, Warwick Cemetery's first burial wall will be officially opened at a ceremony tomorrow.
"The burial wall at Warwick was partly funded through Works for Queensland ($180,000) with the total cost being $256,810," the spokeswoman said.
"These vaults are currently for sale and there was no pre purchase.
"In Stanthorpe, there is a budget of $270,000 to build the burial wall. There is no funding contribution from Works for Queensland.
"There is no requirement for pre purchase. The vaults will be available by the end of the year."