A strategy which identifies current, emerging and future needs of 34 cemeteries under MidCoast Council care will be placed on public exhibition for community input.
The draft Future Cemeteries Strategy will be placed on display for 25 working days, in accordance with the council community engagement strategy.
Council cemeteries are identified across three categories - high and low use, active, and inactive or historic, where internments are generally no longer allowed.
There are significant differences in maintenance, infrastructure quality and extent of use between individual cemeteries, often relating to the historical management practices of the former councils (Great Lakes, Gloucester and Greater Taree) that comprise MidCoast Council.
As a relatively large provider of cemetery services, combined with a need to establish greater consistency within the service and respond to the state government's Interment Industry Scheme, the need for forward planning was identified by council.
While developing the strategy, council consulted both internal and external stakeholders (council staff, funeral directors, Aboriginal groups, National Trust, Blight of the Bight group representatives and contractors) along with members of the community.
An online survey attracted more than 100 responses.
Council's cemeteries provide an important service to the local community in times that are often emotionally difficult, open space and recreation manager, Liam Bulley reported to councillors attending this month's meeting.
We have had a very thorough examination of our cemeteries policy and I am very much in favour of the public having their say during the draft period.- Dheera Smith
Cemeteries also play an important role in documenting the history and heritage of the Mid-Coast area and are of significant cultural, historical and social value, he said.
"Historically, and through the development of the draft strategy, there have been calls for council to assume responsibility for the management and maintenance of additional sites such as Carrington, Tobwabba and Purfleet cemeteries.
"Council is however, already responsible for a large number of cemeteries and the focus of the draft strategy is on those sites."
On completion of the public exhibition period a further report be brought back to council noting any changes as a result of the submissions received. The timeframe also will take into account public holidays and council closure which runs from December 22 to mid-January.
Cr Dheera Smith urged everyone to look at the document.