Simon Crowcroft stated that the Crematorium building could be moved if needed, but the garden of remembrance and memorial are too important and hold sentimental value for so many people that they should not be moved.
Last week during the States Assembly sitting, St Mary Deputy David Johnson asked Deputy Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham, who is leading the political oversight group for the Overdale hospital project, whether any consideration had been given to the relocation of the Crematorium.
While relocating the Crematorium is not within the brief for the Our Hospital project, Senator Farnham said that the government recognised the facility and equipment have had a long operational lifetime and would need to be replaced or relocated at some point.
He said that areas such as the gardens of remembrance and war memorial would be carefully and respectfully considered.
Mr Crowcroft said the gardens should be incorporated into the open area surrounding the new hospital and could act as a space for useful relief.
‘The gardens have to stay where they are. It is a really important space for everyone in our community,’ he said.
However, Mr Crowcroft said the hospital project presents an opportunity to relocate the Crematorium building.
‘There is a huge parking issue up there and many people are forced to park along the road during big funeral services. This could be an issue when the new hospital is built and any new Crematorium building could accommodate more parking options.’
Environment Minister John Young said any relocation of the Crematorium building would present the chance to update the cremation equipment, which has previously raised concerns about pollution levels.
‘The emission standards from the equipment are not satisfactory and so it would be good to update them.
‘The building is a really emotional place and the opportunity to relocate it would mean a chance for a more aesthetically enhanced building.’
He added: ‘You don’t want a new hospital overlooking a Crematorium. However, the gardens must be respected and should not be moved.’
Meanwhile, Senator Farnham said: ‘The Our Hospital team are currently liaising with colleagues in Customer and Local Services [which is responsible for the Crematorium] to ensure that the needs of the facility are considered throughout the development process, including issues such as car parking.’
He added: ‘A separate capital project would be required to move or rebuild the Crematorium and, if agreed in future that it should be re-sited, some of the current site might become available as expansion space for the hospital in the longer term.’