Land adjacent to the Brunswick Valley Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) just outside Mullumbimby will be investigated as a possible site for Byron’s first sustainable burial ground.
The decision to explore the Vallances Road site for this purpose was passed at last week’s full Council meeting, nearly a year after a group of community members made a passionate address to Council on the issue.
Natural burial is a sustainable way of committing those who have died back to the earth without the negative environmental impacts of conventional burials, or cremation.
It typically involves the deceased person being buried in a biodegradable coffin, casket or shroud, without the use of any chemicals such as embalming fluid that might inhibit the ability of the soil to break down the body.
Small, flat, stone markers typically mark the area where a body is buried, thus minimising any changes to the existing ecology.
‘For years, dying people have asked me when we’re going to have a sustainable burial ground’, Zenith Virago from the Natural Death Care Centre told the meeting during public access.
‘They and others want this option, because it’s a continuation of living a sustainable life. This was, and always will be, the original form of burial’.
Under the motion, moved by councillor Michael Lyon at last Thursday’s meeting, Council will identify areas within the Vallances Road site that are suitable for the burial ground.
It will also establish a committee of community members to oversee the process, including consultation with the traditional owners of the land, and the potential layout of the grounds. While all councillors voted for the motion, a number noted that different uses for the site were already under consideration, including affordable housing.
Plan of Management
The site is already subject to a Plan of Management process, and this will continue.
Di Hart, a local resident who has campaigned for the natural burial ground, told the meeting that it would provide the community with a choice.