A growing shortage of space in the Coast's cemeteries has been a growing concern for a decade.
A growing shortage of space in the Coast's cemeteries has been a growing concern for a decade.

Underwater graveyard proposed for Coast waterway

THE BROADWATER could be transformed into an underwater burial ground under ambitious plans being developed by city leaders.

The Gold Coast City Council is investigating creating a memorial which would allow cremated remains to be interred far bellow the surface, either stored inside a structure or mixed in with the concrete to create a new section.

It is the latest proposed solution to the city's shortage of burial plots.

The Neptune Memorial Reef in Florida. Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef
The Neptune Memorial Reef in Florida. Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef

Inspired by the Neptune Memorial Reef in the US, the council began investigating the proposal in January and a report is now being prepared.

It is expected to go before the council's Lifestyle and Community Committee later this year.

Southport councillor Dawn Crichlow is one of the proposal's most enthusiastic supporters and says she wants it to be created in the Broadwater.

"People tell me they would rather be in a peaceful place under than in a cemetery because at least they know they will be there permanently," she said.

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The Entrance lion Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef
The Entrance lion Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef

"Nobody enjoys going to a cemetery but they do love the water so it is a natural progression.

"We could do it in the Broadwater and near Wavebreak Island would be best."

Cr Crichlow argues the idea is cost-effective, would extend the life of the city's cemeteries and create an added attraction for the city's growing dive market.

She said there would be space for a significant number of remains depending on how much spaces was allotted.

A memorial stone at the US site. Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef
A memorial stone at the US site. Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef

Cr Crichlow did not rule out the possibility of herself being interred in the memorial if built saying she "didn't care" where here remains were placed after her death.

The long-serving Southport councillor said it would function well in concert with the council's plans to build a series of giant pyramids off The Spit to create an underwater dive site.

The Neptune Memorial Reef was created in 2007 and sits 5km off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida at a depth of 12m.

The memorial’s welcome feature. Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef
The memorial’s welcome feature. Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef

It will eventually be able to hold more than 125,000 remains.

With its memorial, the cremated remains are mixed in with cement to form parts of the structure, with plaques added.

Mayor Tom Tate is also supportive of the idea but is keen to see it created off the Spit.

"It's the ultimate 'green burial' in my view," he said in a statement to media on Monday.

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A memorial stone. Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef
A memorial stone. Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef

A growing shortage of space in the Coast's cemeteries has been a growing concern for a decade.

The council recently bought new land which could serve as a cemetery, while a 2017 report revealed existing quarries and wasteland could be used to expand the number of available burial plots.

A bench which has become a fish habitat Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef
A bench which has become a fish habitat Picture: Neptune Memorial Reef


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