GRIEVING Tweed families are being put on a waiting list to bury deceased loved ones because the number of deaths has been outstripping Tweed Shire Council's ability to conduct burials.
Burial delays at Tweed's main cemetery at Eviron in recent weeks have caused some funerals to be put off for days because only two people a day can be buried there.
One Tweed resident who contacted the Daily News said a man who died over a week ago could not be buried till this week because of a burial backlog. He even wondered what would happen “if there was a plague”.
A council spokeswoman yesterday confirmed a maximum of two burials per day were conducted at the Tweed Valley Cemetery and the council's 10 other cemeteries “as there are only four staff to provide the service”.
“Council averages three burials per week across the cemeteries, and so the current staff numbers cater for this demand adequately,” she said.
“Were council to increase resources to cater for the rare occasions when more than two burials are requested on any given day, the costs to run the cemeteries and provide the services would increase significantly.
“Also, only one burial is conducted at a time to allow privacy for grieving families.”
She said there had been a large demand for burials in recent weeks, and the number tended to increase “at the start of cold weather each year, as it does at the onset of hot weather”.
Normally about 110 burials per year are conducted at Tweed Valley Cemetery, 30 at Murwillumbah Cemetery and 40 at Tweed Heads and occasionally at Tyalgum.
The council manages 11 cemeteries ranging from the large regional Tweed Valley Cemetery at Eviron, to small village cemeteries. However not all are “active”.
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