The building of a new chapel at Hastings Cemetery has reached a major milestone this week, with the demolition of the old earthquake-prone building.

A new chapel and crematorium have been in the planning since 2012, when the 70-year-old original was found to be earthquake-prone. Temporary work was undertaken at that time to make it as safe as possible while plans for a new building were drawn up.

As well as addressing building strength issues, the new chapel will have room for more people, 100 compared to 80, with more able to be accommodated in the adjoining covered deck area.

The new crematorium building, next door to the chapel, is almost completed with the cremator installed. It includes a new office area. Finishing details will be completed this week.

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"It is great to see real progress on this project," said Hawke's Bay Crematorium Committee chairman Malcolm Dixon.

"The chapel has always been well-used by families from across our region. We are working as efficiently as possible to have the new building available as soon as we can."
The fa├žade has been designed to reflect that of the former chapel.

"We had no choice but to build afresh but we were adamant that while that would give us the best that a modern building can provide we still wanted to reflect the old chapel that has been a large part of very many people's lives," said Mr Dixon.

"It is going to be a very attractive and practical building that will enable us to provide excellent service now and into the future."

The new chapel is due to be opened in mid-2018.