Over my dead body, say locals

Despite 14 written complaints to the City of Subiaco and an emotional public gallery at a committee meeting last week, councillors voted to change the use of 21 and 31-33 Townshend Road from office to funeral parlour.

Councillors will make a final decision at next week’s meeting.

‘No one in this room would want to live next to a funeral home ” it’s depressing, it’s morbid, it’s a constant reminder of death,’ York Street resident Paul Askins said in his public statement.

David Ponzig said funeral homes were a ‘necessary business’ but ‘unsuitable for a residential street’.

‘I would like to register my shock, surprise and anger that the City would even consider this,’ Mr Ponzig said.

Mayor Heather Henderson said the operators InvoCare WA had a proven record in Subiaco with Chipper Funerals and Mareena Purslowe & Associates.

‘Those who have their doubts need to believe that the owners will take great care to work with the community,’ Mrs Henderson said.

Professor McNamara, who has a background in medical anthropology and spent 16 years researching end-of-life studies, said people had a built-in psychological mechanism to avoid dealing with mortality.

‘I find it very interesting that people will willingly switch on the TV every night and watch appalling things like wars and cruelty on the news, but it is only when the reality is brought up close that people find it confronting,’ she said.

‘These people do not want to see a hearse come down their street because they are not watching it on a screen, it is not fictional.

‘People do not want a reminder that death happens, but to put it plainly ” they have to live with it.

‘Funeral parlours and cemeteries are a fact of life. This is a much-needed service in our society.

”I don’t want to deal with it’ is an inherently emotional response.’