The Dunedin City Council could be eyeing the possible
disposal of another ratepayer-owned asset by offloading the
Andersons Bay Crematorium to a private operator.
The Otago Daily Times understands the council is
considering selling the crematorium, and private operator
Hope and Sons yesterday indicated it would be a willing buyer
if the council decided to act.
Councillors were understood to have discussed the idea in a
non-public section of last week's community development
committee meeting, with an item called "Andersons Bay
Crematorium" listed in the non-public part of the agenda.
Committee chairman Cr Bill Acklin would not divulge
details when contacted yesterday, while council operations
general manager Tony Avery would not "confirm or deny" whether
a sale was looming.
He would only say the item remained confidential until after
it was discussed in the non-public section of next week's
full council meeting.
The council sold underperforming Citibus - one of the city's
council-controlled organisations - to Invercargill Passenger
Transport Ltd last year.
Mr Avery said an announcement could follow next week's
meeting "if there's any action that's required".
However, Hope and Sons managing director Michael Hope
yesterday confirmed his company had discussed the future of
the crematorium with the council repeatedly in recent years,
and remained a willing buyer.
Hope and Sons had planned its own crematorium in South
Dunedin, but early last year shelved an appeal against
decisions by the DCC and Otago Regional Council not to grant
consents for it.
The decision to shelve any appeal coincided with an approach
by the DCC, which "came to us thinking we would be a good
purchaser" for the Andersons Bay Crematorium, he said.
"It happened to be the same time we withdrew the idea of
putting our own one in," Mr Hope said.
"What a funny coincidence."
However, no agreement had yet been reached. Nor had a formal
proposal been made by the company "at this stage", he said.
Asked if he knew why the item had emerged in council agendas
again now, Mr Hope would only say: "The wheels turn very
slowly in council."
"They've got to decide whether they want to sell it or not,
or do they keep it as a public asset, before it goes any
He was not sure when progress would be made, but noted: "The
monthly council meeting must be coming up; isn't it next
"Time will tell."