The temporary closure of the Hawke's Bay Crematorium chapel in Hastings is forcing people to assemble at the facility's rear to say goodbye to their departed loved ones - underneath the cremator smoke stack and next to the public toilets.
Others assemble inside the crematory on Orchard Rd, surrounded by other coffins awaiting cremation.
Hastings District Council's crematorium committee meets on Monday to review the latest report on costs to repair the chapel building. It was closed in October when it was deemed a high-profile earthquake risk.
Cemetery manager Garry Bowles, in his report to the committee, said the chapel's closure had damaged the crematorium service's reputation.
The chapel was closed, but many families elected to follow coffins to the back of the crematorium and view delivery to the cremator.
"This area was never designed for this to occur. It is a somewhat indignant ending and does not help the grieving process as this area has the public toilets, adjacent to the cremator stack, noise and parking within it.
"As there is no formal receiving area, the public often views the interior of the crematory. This may have coffins in it awaiting cremation which can be a further cause for distress."
Mr Bowles said more people were interested in "DIY or family-led" funerals and so there was a lack of choice for a funeral venue.
"All families, without exception, were dismayed that the chapel was not an option and some have used the forecourt of the chapel to hold services."
The chapel's closure had impacted on revenue. The year to date budget target was $14,405 but the actual revenue achieved was $6422.
Expenditure was $175,861 against a budget of $150,642. Additional expenditure was due to earthquake-strengthening temporary works to the tune of $7927.
Adding to costs, the facility's cremator machine needed replacing and the cost would be between $230,000 and $250,000.
The chapel was placed on the council's earthquake-prone building register after an initial evaluation report showed it rated at 28.9 per cent of the current building code, while regulations required buildings to rate above 33 per cent of the code, to avoid being placed on the register.
The committee will review a report outlining the initial cost estimate to fix the building, which came to $264,000. Committee chairperson Margaret Twigg said the report showed it was critical to have the chapel building repaired as soon as possible.