THE tender process to extend the cramped municipal cemetery in Paphos is now underway.
The municipality announced the opening of the tender process which will create 392 new graves on a piece of land which lies adjacent to the cemetery.
According to the municipality the new piece of land is four thousand square metres and was bought for 508,000 euros. A further 265,000 euros will be needed to prepare the land.
The tender process will close on September 7.
“I believe that the work will get underway around the end of September,” a municipal spokesman said.
Serious overcrowding at the Metropolitan cemetery in the Exo Vrissi area of Paphos has become so acute in recent years that graves have even been crammed into the pathways.
The public cemetery was established in 1938 and local funeral homes were informed that the last free spaces were available back in 2011.
The municipality spokesman added that around 50 of the new plots would be reserved for deceased belonging to religions other than Christian denominations.
The expansion is imperative and necessary, he said, as the previous idea of building a new cemetery in the Acheleia area proved too expensive and time consuming in terms of being granted various permits.
“The total cost of construction of the new cemetery in Acheleia was expected to exceed 3.5 million euros, construction of 2 million, plus 1. 5 million to buy the land. Paphos municipality had already paid 46,000 euros for the construction plans,” he said.
He added that available plots in the extended cemetery would be for ‘family burials,’ and payment of 2,000 euros would secure the space ‘forever.’
Although the move has been generally widely welcomed, there are still concerns that plots at the new space could fill up within a matter of months.
One idea, which would make maximum use of the allotted space, has been discussed with Paphos mayor, Phedonas Phedonos. This would see a ‘Spanish style above ground cemetery’ constructed, according to Maureen Watt and Neofytos Christodoulides of Angel Guardian Funeral Homes in Paphos. They have carried out around 150 funerals at the Metropolitan cemetery in the last few years.
A Spanish custom of using vaults stacked on top of each other saves space and can save on headstone costs and minimises grave tending,” said Watt.
“The mayor of Paphos said verbally to us that he would try to accommodate our idea to enable more plots available on a percentage of the cemetery land. He liked the idea of a Spanish type mausoleum above the ground.”
The move would free up much of the land and could at least double or even treble the amount of graves available, depending on how high the build would go.
“It wouldn’t be more than four high,” she said.
The municipality couldn’t confirm that the idea would be implemented.
The extension to the cemetery should be ready for burials by the end of the year.