It was an emotional discussion on Wednesday evening at the town council meeting at the town hall of Zuidhorn. And this was not surprising given the item on the agenda, the cemetery policy of the municipality of Westerkwartier.
The debate focused on the municipal and parish cemetery of the Reformed Church in Midwolde. The two cemeteries are full and the municipality of Westerkwartier does not wish to participate in an expansion.
Those who wish to be buried in Midwolde are advised to find another final resting place. According to the municipality, there is still enough space in the other cemeteries of the municipality.
Meadow next to the church
CDA opposes the choice made by the municipality of Midwolde. According to city councilor Jan Willem Slotema, there is enough space for an expansion next to the cemetery. There is a meadow with room for two hundred and fifty to three hundred graves. The land is the property of the church and it wants to contribute to the realization of a partial extension of the municipal cemetery there. “I would like to see the alderman investigate this possibility and discuss it with the village association,” Slotema says.
Cultural and historical value of the region
The association of the village of Midwolde is against the expansion of the two cemeteries. The association refers, among other things, to an agreement with the former municipality of Poireau from 2002, which stipulates that a new extension of the church cemetery is not authorized. According to Roelof Kraak, president of the village association, who spoke at the council meeting, this should also apply to the municipal cemetery. The village association finds the current cemeteries too large for the cultural and historical values of the area around the Reformed Church.
Clean up the graves
According to the association, a survey also shows that residents are against the expansion. The village association pleads in favor of the search for space by “filling” and if possible by cleaning the graves.
GroenLinks leader Klaas Wybo van der Hoek also pleaded in favor of this option. “It frees up space and we can move forward three years. We can use this time to seek a lasting solution.
Alderman Geertje Dijkstra-Jacobi: “It is a sensitive subject with the necessary feelings and emotions. In the case of Midwolde, I cannot ignore the Leek city council decision of 2002. I understand that this is difficult to accept. We have examined the burial sites in other cemeteries in other villages in the Midwolde region and our figures show that there are over twenty-three hundred places. So there is enough space. In addition, we are seeing that the number of burials is decreasing and more and more people are opting for cremation. ‘
All the fractions appreciated the possibility offered by the municipality to allow a natural cemetery. At the beginning of November, the cemeteries policy will be on the agenda of the municipal council and a decision will then be taken on it.
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