Proposal to upgrade Whenua Tapu Crematorium and Chapel

We propose to upgrade Whenua Tapu Crematorium and Chapel, so the city can continue to provide a good quality, affordable cremation facility. We would like to hear your views so the Council can make a decision that is in the community’s best interests.

We propose to upgrade Whenua Tapu Crematorium and Chapel, so the city can continue to provide a good quality, affordable cremation facility. We would like to hear your views so the Council can make a decision that is in the community’s best interests.

Background

Whenua Tapu crematorium is the only service of its kind in Porirua city, providing around 385 cremations each year. It is among the most affordable services of its kind in the region and offers services to Porirua residents and those from further afield. The chapel provides space for up to 150 people to attend a funeral. The crematorium and chapel are located in Whenua Tapu Cemetery, Porirua’s main burial and cremation site which is one of three cemeteries operated by the Council.


The crematorium was built in 1982. The cremator has reached the end of its useful life and in 2018 the Council committed $724,000 to replace it in the Long-term Plan. Further assessments have shown the roof of the crematorium is in poor condition. The chapel no longer meets the needs of its users and the buildings require earthquake strengthening, asbestos treatment and new public toilets to meet the building code. The crematorium work area requires improvements.

The Council now proposes to carry out a full upgrade of the chapel and crematorium so it can continue to operate.

The upgrade needs to be done as soon as possible. The cremator is becoming less reliable and may have just 12–18 months remaining (as at September 2019). The resource consent to operate it runs out in June 2021 and the existing cremator will not meet the requirements for a new consent. It would be replaced with a purpose-built cremator sourced from Australia or the USA where the main suppliers are based. Cremators are not manufactured in New Zealand.

The Council is not required to operate a crematorium. However, the Council has decided it is important to continue to provide a reliable and affordable cremation service to the people of Porirua. The population is growing and changing, and the need for cremation facilities is growing. Without a crematorium in Porirua, local people would need to use cremation services in the wider Wellington region, involving additional costs including travel. Cremation is also better for the environment and requires less land than burial services.

Whenua Tapu cemetery and crematorium are a source of revenue for Porirua City. They generate approximately $560,000 net income a year, of which $180,000 comes from crematorium services. Taking account of overheads, the services currently break even.

The existing cremator is operating at capacity, with about 385 cremations a year. An upgrade of the cremator will mean it can manage 1,000 cremations a year, generating approximately $500,000 a year when operating at capacity. It is expected that the cremator would reach capacity 10 to 15 years from now. 

The Council is considering three options for upgrading the crematorium. A sum of $724,000 has already been set aside to replace and install the cremator. The additional capital money for upgrade work would be borrowed in 2020/21 and will have very little rates impact. The cremator brings in revenue and over its life will have a positive impact on rates, ranging from 0.03% to 0.26% depending on the option chosen.

The amount of work we undertake on the building can range depending on which option is preferred, with costs ranging from $735,000 to $1,825,000 to complete those building works.

Options summary and proposal

Options Estimated cost Approved budget Difference Rates impact
Option A $1,335,000 $724,000 $610,000 0.17%
Option B $2,125,000 $724,000 $1,401,000 0.17%
Option C $2,425,000 $724,000 $1,700,000 0.19%
Option D $120,000 $724,000 $504,000 0.02%

Option A – cremation only. Under this option, there would be no chapel. We would only provide cremations.

  • Buy and install a new cremator
  • Upgrade the crematorium workspace
  • Demolish the chapel and don’t replace it


Option B – upgrade all buildings. Under this option, the chapel will be strengthened and upgraded to provide extra capacity, catering and family space, and new toilets. The cremation workspace will be upgraded to provide a safer and more effective working environment.

  • Upgrade existing buildings including chapel and cremation workspace
  • Buy and install a new cremator
  • This is the Council’s preferred option


Option C – build a new crematorium and chapel. The crematorium and chapel would be redeveloped 

based on a new design.

  • Demolish all buildings
  • Build new on existing site
  • Buy and install a new cremator


Option D – discontinue cremation services in Porirua and remove the crematorium and chapel

Proposal

We propose the Council funds Option B – upgrade all buildings and buy and install a new cremator. We believe it is the most cost-effective way of improving the crematorium and making sure it provides good quality services to the community into the future.

Tell us what you think

We would like to hear your views on this to help the Council make a final decision about the chapel and crematorium.

What happens to your feedback?

Your feedback will help to inform the decision-making about the future of the crematorium at a council committee meeting later in 2019. Seeking your views is a first step. What happens next depends on the feedback and the Council’s decision on the next steps. We will keep you informed through our website and social media channels.

Your feedback

The Council proposes to upgrade Whenua Tapu Crematorium so it continues to provide an affordable and reliable service.

How strongly do you support the proposal to upgrade Whenua Tapu crematorium?

Have your say by Monday 18 November 2019 in the following ways:

  • online at poriruacity.govt.nz
  • email the scanned submission form to submission@poriruacity.govt.nz
  • post in a stamped addressed envelope to: Crematorium Consultation, Porirua City Council, PO Box 50218, Porirua 5240
  • drop off in person to the Council front counter, 18 Hartham Place North, Porirua.

Privacy

All submissions are public information. This supports our drive to be as transparent as possible – but – if there are any personal details you don’t want made public, please let us know.