A plan to create a new three hectare extension for burial plots at Woden Cemetery could see between 15 and 20 years of additional capacity created at the site.
The ACT government will ask for community feedback on the expansion proposal on Monday, as the existing space for burial plots at the cemetery is expected to be sold by 2018 or 2019.
According to a government plan, extra capacity could be created by adding the open space on land between the cemetery and the adjacent athletics park to the stock for burial plots.
It would see an extra three hectares for plots joined to the existing 11 hectare cemetery, first established in 1936 when Canberra's population was fewer than 10,000 people.
Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury said the extension, enough new land for burials until 2030 or 2035, should be finalised before all existing plot spaces were allocated.
"The remaining burial plots at the Woden cemetery are expected to be sold in the next three to four years, so it is important we plan for the future expansion of the cemetery now.
"The proposed extension will add approximately 15 to 20 years to the existing life of the cemetery and it will cater for different faiths. It will provide for lawn and monument burials and a variety of memorial gardens," he said.
Paid for by the ACT Public Cemeteries Authority without cost to the ACT government, the work will be conducted in two stages to minimise disruption in the area. The first stage is estimated to cost about $500,000.
The formally planned Woden Cemetery was temporarily closed in 1979 and re-opened in March 1999. Memorial gardens were opened in 1992 and a mausoleum was completed in 2001.
In 2009, the ACT government estimated the area would run out of space in about a decade.
Already it offers burial in denomination sectors including for Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Church of Christ, Congregational, Islamic, Jewish, Lutheran, Methodist and Orthodox. Specialist areas for former service men and women, Salvation Army members and general burials are also offered.
The ACT Public Cemeteries Trust also operates cemeteries in Hall and Gungahlin.
Mr Rattenbury said the subsequent staged development would occur at Woden as required.
"Woden cemetery was established in 1936 and plays an important role in our city's history. A $200,000 upgrade was completed last year, making improvements to the heritage-listed office building, establishing a new babies' memorial garden and installing an information kiosk," he said.
"An extension of the mausoleum is also under way."
Mr Rattenbury called on members of the community to share their views on a range of issues related to the proposed expansion, including its location, the new layout, services offered on site and mitigation of impacts of the extension.
"In recent years, the authority has been working on plans for a new Southern Memorial Park proposed for Mugga Lane, Tuggeranong," Mr Rattenbury said.
"This project is still some years away and the proposed extension to Woden cemetery will ensure it can continue to cater for the needs of south Canberra until the Southern Memorial Park can come to fruition."
The government's public consultation period continues until Monday, June 8.
For more information, visit www.canberracemeteries.com.au
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