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Crematorium work gets under way

Long campaign: Amis Memorial Chapel has been fighting for residents to have the ability to cremate relatives on island. The crematorium will be open to other funeral homes to use

Work on the island’s first crematorium in St David’s has got under way with developers hoping the facility will be open in five months.

Heavy machinery descended on the vacant land on Wallers Point Road, near the TCD centre, yesterday to begin landscaping and clearance work.

The ground breaking is the end of a long campaign by Amis Memorial Chapel that dates back to 1984 to enable residents to have relatives cremated on island.

“It felt very good to see the work begin,” Leon Amis said.

“This project goes all the way back to 1984 so it is also a big relief to get things started.

“The lease with the Bermuda Land Development Corporation has been signed and we hope that it will take between four and five months before the facility is fully operational.

“It will be open to other funeral homes to use, but we will operate it.”

The structure and equipment for Bermuda’s first crematorium has been specially constructed in the United States and will be shipped to the island later in the year.

“The retort, which is the machine that does the cremation, will be coming from Florida, while the structure itself is being made in Colorado.

“All the machinery is state-of-the art and it will satisfy a large gap in the market. Just last week we had three requests from cremations, but at present all we can do is send the bodies to the United States by air.”

The project will involve the construction of the crematorium itself, an above-ground liquid petroleum gas tank and an 8ft security fence on the land, which is owned by the Bermuda Land Development Company (BLDC).

The most recent planning application to build the crematorium was submitted in May last year and was the fourth time that Amis had tried to get permission to build such a facility in Bermuda.

Previously, the funeral home proposed building a crematorium at Well Bottom in Warwick, next to its funeral home in Warwick, and most recently at Industrial Road in Southampton.

However, all three proposals were rejected by the Development Applications Board.

Mr Amis told The Royal Gazette: “We will be taking one day at a time. We want to make sure we get it right the first time.

“It has been a long haul but it is good to reach this point.”