DA Application

Official Statements

Letter from Fr Vince dated 1 December

Letter from Fr Vince dated 25 Aug

Letter from Fr Vince to school || 10-08-2016

Media Statement: Kenthurst || 10-08-2016

Bulletins addressing the Cemetery Proposal

Christmas Bulletin 2014

Christmas Bulletin 2013

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In general about parish life

Local parishes are generally run by the parish council and the parish finance committee, in conjunction with the parish priest.
These committees are made up of parishioners who generously volunteer their time and experience in serving the parish.
The parish council is made up of elected members of our parish community and representatives of the various parish groups (youth group, social work, elderly group).
They usually meet monthly with elections generally held every two years in August. The purpose of the parish council is a leadership body that assists the priest and parish staff to discern the spiritual needs of our community.
Anyone who is part of St Madeleine Sophie Barat Kenthurst Parish is warmly invited to join either council and
contribute to the life of the Parish.

 

What is the application number? When was the DA lodged?

Application Number 59/2017/HA
Lodgement Date 15/07/2016

 

Why a cemetery? Where there other options?
The land is zoned for a cemetery.
The Parish Council and Finance Committee explored several options for funding Parish activities. These financial activities included but are not limited to the church construction, charitable programmes, parish functions and general parish maintenance. Day care and early learning centres, land subdivision, aged care development and several other income generating possibilities were financially modelled.
The land is not zoned for many of these.
The others required significant capital outlay, so the concept of a cemetery was further investigated. On further investigation the cemetery proposal was deemed viable as the land is zoned for a cemetery, the initial capital outlay was minimal and long term financial projection positive.
The parish engaged the services of a market research company. This company confirmed that there was a need for a cemetery in the area. This idea was put to the parish during our parish market research. The result was a majority in favour of the cemetery proposal.
A complete financial model was developed in consultation with the Diocese, industry professionals and using the results of the market research. The business plan was forwarded to the Diocese for comment. After consultation the business plan was approved by the Diocese and the parish progressed to submitting this DA.

 

Was the church/cemetery proposal ever put to a whole parish vote?
No issue is ever put to a “whole parish vote”. To suggest otherwise is misleading.
Parishioners were invited at periodic masses during 2012/2013 to give their opinion on building a church.
The responses received were overwhelmingly was positive and in favour of building a church.
Parishioners were also notified, in writing, during the busiest time of the year for the parish when mass attendance is high – during Christmas 2013 and Christmas 2014.
When it was apparent to the Parish Council that project was not financially viable, without additional sources of revenue the Council explored alternative revenue sources.
It was found that investment in Pre-Schools, retirement homes or other like investments required larges capital investments and did not generate sufficient net return to meet principle and interest repayments on the required borrowings.
The Parish Council determined that the Lawn Cemetery proposal was the best form of investment.
Approximately two years ago the parish established an online survey and the parish community was invited by newsletter to send their comments via this medium.
Furthermore, the Parish community and adjoining Catholic communities were surveyed in 2014 by professional consultants to understand the market needs and size of a proposed lawn cemetery.
Fifty percent of the respondents were Kenthurst parishioners.
This was also mentioned at other parishes in the area:
http://www.stbernadette.org.au/wp-content/uploads/massabielle/newsletter141005%20.pdf
http://www.northrockscatholic.org.au/_resources/b141102.pdf

 

Were any other avenues to raise funds examined/costed out and were there opportunities for parishioners to comment?
Yes.
It was found that investment in Pre-Schools, retirement homes or other like investments required larges capital investments and did not generate sufficient net return to meet principle and interest repayments on the required borrowings.
The land is not zoned for many of these.
The Parish Council determined that the Lawn Cemetery proposal was the best form of investment.

 

Was the parish community ever informed that preparation of plans, conducting of surveys, commissioning of reports, allocation of parish funds was in progress?
Yes.
The parish community was informed at all masses of an application by the parish was being submitted to the Diocese in February 2015 for the development of the Church and Lawn Cemetery and the community was again advised in May 2015 when the Diocese granted permission to proceed to lodge a DA for the entire project with the Council.
In recent times, letters have gone to the Schools and information has been placed at the back of the church.
In addition, Fr Vincent has spoken about this during mass.
Parishioners were also notified during the busiest time of the year for the parish when mass attendance is high – during Christmas 2013 and Christmas 2014 via bulletins.
This was also mentioned at other Catholic parishes in the area:
http://www.stbernadette.org.au/wp-content/uploads/massabielle/newsletter141005%20.pdf
http://www.northrockscatholic.org.au/_resources/b141102.pdf

 

Was the parish community ever invited to have input while the plans were being formulated?
Yes.
A DA committee was established comprising experience technical people to formulate the plans for the project.
Further, parishioners are welcome to join the Parish Council which is made up of elected members of our Parish community and representatives of the various parish groups.
They usually meet monthly and these issues are discussed at Parish Council level in greater detail.

 

Was the parish community informed a DA for church/cemetery was to be submitted on their behalf?
Yes.
The parish community was informed at all masses of an application by the parish was being submitted to the Diocese in February 2015 for the development of the Church and Lawn Cemetery and the community was again advised in May 2015 when the Diocese granted permission to proceed to lodge a DA for the entire project with the Council.
In recent times, letters have gone to the Schools and information has been placed at the back of the church.
In addition, Fr Vincent has spoken about this during mass.
Parishioners were also notified during the busiest time of the year for the parish when mass attendance is high – during Christmas 2013 and Christmas 2014 (linked above) .

 

Is the education office required to consent to the planning process and/or lodgement?
No, they are not required to consent. The land belongs to the parish.

 

Can you share the environmental assessments of the proposed DA?
A Statement of Environmental Effects is included in the DA and is available online. So too is a Geotechnical Investigation conducted at the request of council to determine potential effects of the cemetery activity.
The report concludes that excavation on the site would not be likely to encounter the groundwater table.

 

Please provide us with the documentation which assessed any risk to the children who do/will attend the Catholic schools on the site. Including any correspondence with the education office.
Since the establishment of the parish in 1988 funerals have taken place regularly in full view of kindergarten and other classes in St Madeleine’s Primary School without ever any concern being expressed about the health or safety of any child.
Future funerals at St Madeleine’s Parish will be held in the new church which will be some distance further from the school and where the current church is located.
As outlined in the DA, the site is landscaped specifically to totally enclose the area from public view ensuring there is no direct view into the site and appropriate fencing is in place around the site.
In developing the traffic management and landscaping plans the DA has considered the safety of the children. Vehicles entering the site and parking are away from the school buildings.
The existing mass centre is joined to the school and presently has funeral masses conducted in close proximity to the classes. With the proposed Church building approximately further 50m away from its present location there will be less impact on students.
Children will not be directly exposed to the burial ceremony as this will be behind the fenced and screened boundary

 

How will you address privacy issues of kids looking into the cemetery?
This will not occur.
As outlined in the DA, the site is landscaped specifically to totally enclose the area from public view ensuring there is no direct view into the site and appropriate fencing is in place around the site.
Further, there is not view out of the site either, offering privacy to the mourners.

 

Have you made contact with local residents about the development?

Residents have been written to about the development and invited to the parish house to be shown plans and reports.
Further, as part of the DA process, council also notifies residents.

 

What about land values for neighbouring residents?

We have seen no evidence this DA would negatively affect land values.
In fact, one resident has even commented they have had buyers approach them since the announcement of the DA.
One resident who lives ”on Annangrove Road, ha(s) been approached three times by interested buyers since the development application was lodged.”

http://www.hillsnews.com.au/story/4105110/kenthurst-couple-to-fight-catholic-diocese-over-cemetery-bid/

 

How many plots will the site hold?

As per the DA, the proposed site is expected to hold 2,984 plots

 

How many parking spaces are available?

As per the DA, the number of spaces increase from 68 to 105. That is, a 54% increase in the number of parking spots.
The parish and education office have a commitment to work together to resolve any traffic and parking issues that might occur onsite.

 

There are many traffic issues on Annangrove Road. What will you do to address these?

As per the DA, a traffic assessment was carried out and found that additional traffic generation as a result of the proposal would be of a negligible impact.
We are also open to working with the relevant authorities on this issue.

 

What about the impact on the environment?
A Statement of Environmental Effects is included in the DA. So too is a Geotechnical Investigation conducted at the request of council to determine potential effects of the cemetery activity.
The report concludes that excavation on the site would not be likely to encounter the groundwater table.

 

Some people are culturally offended by cemeteries. What do you have to say about that?
We completely understand that in some Asian cultures and for some Chinese people, living close to a cemetery is against their heritage and religious beliefs.
We reiterate we will work with and meet local residents to address concerns they may have.