Return to drawing board

Hope and Sons is going back to the drawing board over its planned Mosgiel crematorium, but still hopes to have it operating before the end of the year.

Managing director Michael Hope confirmed last week the company was planning to redesign the planned facility as part of a ''rethink around the budget'' over winter.

That should see the cost of construction lowered, although Mr Hope would not say how much the company now expected to spend.

However, with consents already granted, he remained confident the facility would still open later this year.

''There's another three months of winter and if we can get in and under way, we're looking at keeping it fairly simple, so we're still looking at the end of this year.''

The funeral directors were granted consent in April last year to establish and operate the crematorium on a 1ha block in an industrial zone off Dukes Rd North.

The original plans include a 240sq m building to house a cremator, an administration and staff area, a lobby, toilets and a processing and storage room, and five parking spaces outside.

The company initially hoped to have the facility open by February this year but the timeline proved to be probably ''a bit ambitious'', Mr Hope said at the time.

The Dunedin City Council has also confirmed it is considering leasing its own Andersons Bay Crematorium to a private operator, in response to the emergence of private competition.

Hope and Sons' facility is expected to cut revenue at the council's facility by up to 50%, creating a drain on ratepayers, council staff have warned.

Leasing it was part of a move towards ''getting out of the cremations business'' that could eventually see the facility sold, council parks, recreation and aquatics group manager Mick Reece said.

Councillors had considered selling the facility in 2012, and considered its future again during a non-public part of last week's finance committee meeting.

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