A proposed development for a new crematorium in Symonston will have irreversible effects on the nature that surrounds it, an advocacy group says.
Pamela Collett from Friends of Callum Brae Nature Reserve said the recent amendment made to the development application for a crematorium on Mugga Lane would forever affect an area of Canberra filled with endangered species and mature trees.
Some of the trees in the reserve, namely the Yellow Box Gum and Blakely's Red Gum, are over 200 years old, and Ms Collett said the proposed removal of several of them was "unacceptable".
"Callum Brae Nature Reserve and the adjoining area of the crematorium complex protects mature native trees ... which include nesting sites for the endangered gang-gang cockatoos," Ms Collett said.
"The only known breeding sites for the small ant butterfly are in the reserve as well as in the area of the proposed crematorium complex, too."
Callum Brae Nature Reserve is the only habitat like this in Australia, she said.
"It's a very big deal, and we should all hold a responsibility within all of Australia to protect this area," she said.
"Protecting the site will allow for the protection of biodiversity, including critically endangered ecosystems home to threatened flora and fauna, to maintain connectivity with the Mount Mugga Mugga and other nature reserves and for the enjoyment of visitors to the reserve for future generations.
"The area needs to be protected forever, all of it. Something needs to be done to make sure that it is forever."
The opposition to the proposal comes after the gang-gang cockatoo and several other species were added to the ACT threatened species list at the beginning of May.
Ms Collett also said there was no need for another crematorium in the area.
"We already have two crematoria in the north of Canberra, and the current ones are operating at only 18 per cent capacity," she said.
"It doesn't make sense."
ACT Greens spokesperson for Parks and Conservation Jo Clay said there should be better scrutiny into the application as Canberra doesn't need another crematorium.
It will likely have an even broader effect on the environment, she said.
"In the past three years, the ACT doubled our capacity for crematoria services. This proposal is for a third right next door to Callum Brae and there's a fourth planned for Southern Memorial Park," she said.
"I do wonder whether this development is even required, let alone the environmental impact of developing this site.
"The proposed development will include several buildings, access roads and car parks that would see the clearing of a third of a hectare of Commonwealth and ACT-listed critically endangered Box Gum Woodland and potentially impact a valuable wildlife corridor for threatened and declining woodland birds."
Ms Clay is the sponsor for a petition calling the Legislative Assembly to consider whether the application is appropriate.
According to National Geographic, the average cremation uses the same amount of energy and produces a similar amount of emissions as two tanks of fuel in a car.
Executive director of the Conservation Council ACT Region said considerations about emissions were not considered in the application.
"There should be an investigation into the likely amount of greenhouse gas emissions [that would occur as a result of the application]," she said.
"The ACT government has committed to net-zero emissions by 2045 including phasing out fossil gas. It is unacceptable to consider approving a development utilising fossil gas in the face of the climate emergency and the government's own policy."
The development application amendment consultation period closes on Tuesday, May 30, a day which Ms Collett described as "challenging".
InvoCare, who submitted the development application, has been contacted for comment.
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