Sat | Oct 23, 2021

Hopewell cemetery running out of space

Published:Thursday | September 9, 2021 | 12:06 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

WITH THE increasing demand for space at the Hopewell cemetery in Hanover, there is now great fear among residents of eastern Hanover that they will soon be out of space to bury their deceased loved ones.

Ever since the cemetery in Sandy Bay, the adjoining community, was ordered closed some 10 years ago because of lack of space, the Hopewell cemetery is being used by the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) for the burial of persons from Sandy Bay and the other districts that cemetery formerly served.

While the HMC is currently searching for a suitable site to create a cemetery to replace the Sandy Bay cemetery, efforts are also being made to lobby the owner of the lands adjoining the Hopewell cemetery to sell a part of the property to the HMC to facilitate the expansion of the town’s cemetery.

At a recent monthly meeting of the HMC, a decision was taken to approach the owner of the property next to the Hopewell cemetery to see whether or not he would be willing to donate or sell a portion of the land so as to facilitate the extension of that cemetery.

Petra Foster, the president of the Hanover Parish Development Committee, was tasked by the HMC to identify the owner of the property so that a formal approach could be made to him.

“I have received the name and contact number of the owner of the lands, and that information will be passed on to the HMC for them to do the necessary contact,” said Foster, when The Gleaner sought an update from her.

“The concern is still there from the residents of Hopewell, about the number of persons from Sandy Bay and its adjoining districts who are being buried there in the Hopewell cemetery, and the feedback I am getting is that they are fed up with the HMC as it is over 10 years now that the Sandy Bay cemetery has been closed.”

According to Foster, the last time she checked on the available spaces at the Hopewell cemetery earlier this year, the estimate was that there were about 1,000 burial spots remaining. She also said that some residents were concerned about issues such as the lack of proper utilisation of the land for burial spaces and the lack of proper maintenance of the cemetery.

When The Gleaner contacted Devon Brown, the councillor for the Hopewell division, he said he is aware the efforts of the HMC to acquire the property adjoining the Hopewell cemetery and he is aware that site visits have been carried out by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

With respect to the identification of lands for the establishment of a new cemetery for Sandy Bay, Brown said he is aware that lands have been identified in an area known as Georgia. He said representatives from the National Environment and Planning Agency are supposed to inspect the area before any further decisions are taken by the HMC.