The search for new cemetery space within the borough is to be left to Antrim and Newtownabbey District Council, which will replace the existing local authorities from April 1, 2015.
With space for burial plots at Carnmoney Cemetery in short supply, Newtownabbey Council has been trying for several years to find suitable land for a new cemetery - so far without success.
Detailed surveys were recently carried out at four potential sites - some in the vicinity of Mossley Mill - and one of the areas of land was deemed 88 per cent suitable for burials.
However, with the recently completed extension to Carnmoney Cemetery providing sufficient grave space for around two and a half years, NBC Development Committee members decided to take no further action with regard to the four sites.
With Antrim Council also seeking to identify potential space for burials, they agreed that the issue be dealt with by the new district council.
The decision was welcomed by Alderman John Blair, who has been calling for such a move for some time.
The Alliance man questioned how much has been spent by Newtownabbey Borough Council in searching for new cemetery space over the past few years.
His party colleague, Cllr Billy Webb, stressed that one of the four potential sites - identified only as ‘site 17’ - “looks like a good option”. He reminded members that the issue has been being debated since he joined the council in 1997 and he said it is time to “grasp the opportunity” to finally deal with it.
A report on the search for a new cemetery site is expected to be presented to shadow council members early in the new year.