An application to establish a funeral home in one of Lismore’s busiest and most popular streets has nearby shop owners and retailers angry, but has been recommended for approval.
Councillors next week will decide whether to follow staff recommendations to approve the funeral home, or reject the proposal.
The proposed funeral home would occupy the old Gundurimba Shire Council building in Magellan Street and would generally operate 9am to 5pm weekdays.
The plans for the building at 59 Magellan St involve furnishing the interior with a small chapel and morgue.
The home would conduct approximately 150 funerals per annum (three per week), however, due to the chapel having a seating capacity for approximately 50 people, the majority of funerals would be held off site with only about 30 funerals per annum occurring at the premises.
The service’s hearse would park at the rear of the building in a custom-built garage.
Opponents to the development have argued that Magellan Street, which is branded as Lismore’s Eat Street, and is an important part of Lismore’s Come to the Heart business promotion strategy.
The subject section of Magellan Street comprises specialist shops, cafés, restaurants, food shops and educational facilities.
The area also encourages people activity and provides for a variety of street activities such as buskers, a market and public events such as the Lismore Lantern Parade and Eat the Street.
They say locating a funeral home in the heart of Lismore’s busy CBD and off a paid car park was inappropriate and likely to negatively impact upon small businesses in the CBD.
Concerns about traffic congestion, and crowds larger than the proposed 50 people, attending have also been raised.
Opponents believe the funeral home should be located in an industrial estate.
On the positive side, letters in support of the application argue that the funeral home would bring people into the CBD, which would be of benefit to existing shops.
They say the locally owned and operated funeral parlour would be well serviced by public transport, that there is plenty of nearby car parking, and would ‘promote growth for the Lismore CBD’.
Staff have recommended that the application be approved, but it will be the councillors next Tuesday who make the final decision.