The Walker Funeral Group is set to become the new owner of the Philip Charley Drive crematorium and lawn cemetery.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is moving ahead with the sale of Innes Gardens Memorial Park Crematorium and Lawn Cemetery after an expression of interest process.
The council at its August meeting decided to negotiate terms and enter into a contract of sale with Walker Funeral Group.
A more than 1000-signature petition had called for a stop to the facility's privatisation.
Walker Funeral Group's David Walker said they were committed to providing the community with sustainable, affordable and culturally appropriate cemetery, crematorium and memorialisation services in a transparent and accountable manner.
"Our experience in providing services to a diverse range of communities both at Crown Land and private cemeteries and crematoriums will ensure we can continue to engage with the community to identify and meet their needs," he said.
Walker Funeral Group founders David and Melissa Walker started their funeral industry journey in 1996.
They have grown the business considerably and own and operate a number of funeral homes across Australia.
Council director Rebecca Olsen said the sale was about ensuring the best possible ongoing delivery of cremation, lawn cemetery and memorialisation services to the community.
"There are many benefits that the preferred provider Walker Funeral Group Pty Ltd are able to deliver, including improving the current level of service and expanding the range of facilities and services available for our community," she said.
Tender Funerals Mid North Coast spokesperson Annie Quadroy describes the council's decision as incredibly short-sighted.
"Given all of us will be using that facility in one way or another during the course of our lifetime, I think it is just an unconscionable act by council," Ms Quadroy said.
She questioned why the council could not replicate what a private provider would deliver.
Tender Funerals Mid North Coast believes the facility should remain in council hands and could have been used to make money for our community.
The decision to move ahead with a sale was carried seven votes to one, with mayor Peta Pinson against, in the confidential section of the council meeting.
Mr Walker said they would ensure the transition was delivered with minimum disruption and they would continue to operate Innes Gardens Memorial Park so it provided access and support to the whole community.
Councillors Peter Alley and Lisa Intemann, when a community consultation report went before the open council meeting, supported an attempt to discontinue the expressions of interest/tendering process and explore different business models.
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