NEW DEVELOPMENT: The heritage listed St Joseph's Church will have two additional buildings developed despite backlash from the community.
NEW DEVELOPMENT: The heritage listed St Joseph's Church will have two additional buildings developed despite backlash from the community.

Principal’s concerns for students, staff over cemetery plans

A SCHOOL principal has voiced concerns his students could be witness to funeral activity after the Southern Downs Regional Council approved a proposal for a cemetery.

The proposed development at the High St Catholic Church would see the columbarium, to “hold urns containing cremated ashes”, and a bell tower added to the heritage-listed property.

St Joseph’s principal Andrew Kendall was apprehensive about the development, writing to the Southern Downs Regional Council to voice his concerns for students.

“This cemetery (columbarium) will be located approximately 15-20 metres from the yard of St Joseph’s School (secondary campus),” Mr Kendall’s letter read.

“It will be in full view of the students and staff in the area adjacent to the cemetery. This school area is the lunch area of the Year 7 and 8 students.

“The fact the cemetery will be in full view of the students and staff creates the possibility of distress and emotional concerns for those students and staff who may view the internment of the ashes of the deceased, funeral services or mourners visiting the remains of loved ones.

Mr Kendall clarified that the school did not oppose the construction of the cemetery on church grounds, but did “object to it being within the view of the students and staff.”

Proposed plans for the bell tower and columbarium at St Joseph's Church Stanthorpe.
Proposed plans for the bell tower and columbarium at St Joseph's Church Stanthorpe.

The two additional buildings will “respect the colour scheme” that is already associated with the heritage listed building.

“The bell tower is proposed to improve and consolidate the presence of the existing church,” the proposal from the Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba read.

“The bell is an important element of the Catholic Church.

“The columbarium is noted to be of importance for the Catholic faith to provide members of the public an alternative to cemetery burials.

“Due to the proximity of the development site to the school building, it may be necessary to provide screening to separate the uses association with the church from the school use.”

Once completed, the property will a feature 7m high and 3m wide bell tower, and an octagon style columbarium to hold “urns containing cremated ashes”.

Cr Stephen Tancred said he respected the objections by Mr Kendall however, noted the proximity of the additional buildings to classrooms.

“I’d like to point out that the building adjacent to the church is not used by the students or the teachers anymore,” he said.

“It’s mostly vacant and does have some parish use.”

Proposed plans for the bell tower at St Joseph’s Church.
Proposed plans for the bell tower at St Joseph’s Church.
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