Cemetery opponents ramp up campaign against Rookwood plans with petition

Petition: A petition against plans for a cemetery at historic Fernhill Estate will be presented to Stuart Ayres and Tanya Davies within the next week.
Petition: A petition against plans for a cemetery at historic Fernhill Estate will be presented to Stuart Ayres and Tanya Davies within the next week.

A petition containing more than 1000 signatures against plans for a cemetery at historic Fernhill Estate will be presented to the state government this week.

The petition calls for the state government to stop the development of a cemetery at heritage-listed Fernhill, as it “is not a compatible, appropriate use of this historic landscape”.

“A cemetery, with manicured maintenance and an infrastructure of roads, paths, signs, lighting, chapels and auxiliary buildings would irrevocably destroy the rural character of the landscape and destroy the integrity of its historic design, as well as disrupt the wildlife corridors,” the petition states.

Mulgoa Valley Landcare Group president Lisa Harrold said the petition would be presented to Penrith MP Stuart Ayres and Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies within the next week.

Both – who are also state government ministers – have publicly stated their own opposition to the proposal.

Ms Harrold said Mulgoa Valley Landcare was also proposing an alternative plan for the estate if the cemetery bid failed.

The group has put forward a proposal for acquisition of the property by the local, state and federal governments, a plan they say has a precedent set by other moves including the rehabilitation of a disused mine at Hornsby Park.

“There’s been a huge groundswell of support to oppose the cemetery,” she told the Gazette.

Most people that are aware of it though it was already rejected, and they have been very happy to sign the petition against it. I didn’t come across one person who refused.”

Upper House Greens MP David Shoebridge told this month’s community meeting that the government was poised to sign off on the sale of Fernhill Estate, following an exclusive due dilligence process by Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust.

Ms Harrold said the Trust’s due diligence phase was set to expire shortly, which would put the property back on the market, and she urged the state government to act to acquire the property.

Lindsay MP Emma Husar also expressed opposition to the proposal, she said.