Court threats as controversial CBD development denied
HIS plans to build a crematorium may seem dead and buried, but Whitsunday Funerals owner Jeff Boyle is refusing to accept the last planning rites Mackay Regional Council has issued him.
The plan was to build the crematorium at 217 Shakespeare St, but according to council staff burning dead bodies in the middle of Mackay didn't fit within the new town planning scheme.
That was the basis on which the development was unanimously refused by councillors at yesterday's meeting.
After hearing the decision, Mr Boyle went on a tirade in the council chambers, claiming he was told before lodging his application the site was suitable for a crematorium.
"Have me evicted, I don't care. Your party told me that this was the correct place to go to,” he said while pointing the finger at Cr Greg Williamson.
He threatened to sue the council and called it corrupt on his way to being the first member of the public evicted from a Mackay Regional Council meeting.
Cr Williamson said the claims the council was corrupt were "disgusting” and there were "no grounds for Mr Boyle making that at all”.
"(The crematorium) doesn't meet council planning grounds under the planning scheme right now,” he said.
"We would certainly like to be involved with putting in a crematorium in Mackay but not in the middle of the CBD. We are happy to work with him for any other location.”
After cooling down, Mr Boyle told The Daily Mercury he still intended to take the council to the Planning and Environment Court to have the decision reversed on appeal.
Mr Boyle claimed council officers told him and his advisers the site was suitable for a crematorium at meetings before he lodged his $30,000 development application.
He said if the site was not suitable, the council should not have requested a $10,000 environmental report.
That report showed his $180,000 crematorium created no smoke, no smell and less emissions than a new car, Mr Boyle claimed.
Development Services director Gerard Carlyon refuted the applicant's claims.
"I personally met with the (Mr Boyle) and his consultants Cardno once and our planning staff also met with the applicant several times before the application was lodged,” he said.
"(Mr Boyle) has never been advised by council that a crematorium would be supported on this site.
"A planning report submitted as part of the application does not reference any pre-lodgement advice provided about the crematorium.”
Mr Carlyon said Mr Boyle had the opportunity to appeal council's decision in the Planning and Environment Court.
"Council is confident in the robustness of its assessment of this application and the final decision made and would defend any actions brought in court over this matter,” he said.
The furore comes after a bad period for the industry, with calls for a formal inquiry after a "coffin swapping” allegation in Rockhampton and reports of funeral directors accepting minuscule government contracts, worth 1¢, to work as undertakers at emergencies in order to secure lucrative funerals.
"The contract gives them all the details to be able to solicit families,” Mr Boyle said last month.