SHOALHAVEN City Council is hoping to be able to live-stream funerals from its Worrigeee Crematorium and Chapel.
At a time where COVID-19 regulations restricted the number of people physically allowed to attend funerals live-streaming services was an alternative to allow people to pay their respects but Shoalhaven council was unable to due to poor internet connectivity at the facility.
Council is now hopeful with an upgrade to the NBN, it will be able to provide such services in the future, like many other chapels in metropolitan and major regional centres who regularly stream services.
"NBN was not established in the Worrigee area until very recently," a council spokesperson said.
"We have now been able to attain an NBN connection and are now awaiting technical connection to be able to live-stream to a YouTube private channel.
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"This has taken a long time to achieve due to the extreme volume of business being generated across community and business enterprises for the same facilities."
In the interim council has established the upload of services directly as they are completed to the Shoalhaven Bereavement Services private YouTube channel as well as providing a USB of the service at no cost to the family.
For a number of years questions over the Worrigee facility's ability to hold larger funerals has been raised with council saying it was planning for improved chapel capacity with proposed capital expenditure identified for consideration in 2023/24 and 2024/25 10-year capital budget process.
"Prior to COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions on indoor attendance of one person per four square metres, on average across the past four years the chapel has provided sufficient seating capacity indoors 72 per cent of the time," the council spokesperson said.
"Indoor seating plus outdoor seating with all-weather cover and audio/visual facilities comprised a further 22 per cent of services with only six per cent of services being conducted with standing room only for latecomers.
"Prior to COVID-19, seating indoors at the chapel was for 90 with a further 60 under all-weather cover outdoors and additional attendees able to stand outdoors (weather permitting) and still view and hear the service.
"Since the COVID-19 restrictions, only a maximum of 28 mourners can be in the chapel at any one time.
"At this point, any number can attend the service but the remainder must be outdoors seated under all weather cover and appropriately physically distanced or standing physically distanced with audio/visual facilities."
The spokesperson said prior to COVID-19 larger services had traditionally been able to be conducted at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre and at some of the larger church facilities in the Shoalhaven City prior to interment or cremation.
"Acknowledging the trend for larger, life celebration style services, planning for improved chapel capacity has been ongoing with proposed capital expenditure identified for consideration in 2023/24 and 2024/25 10-year capital budget process," the spokesperson said.