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Council approves master plan for cemetery expansion

Lacombe City council has made its move to continuing using a cemetery that is starting to run out of space.

Lacombe City council has made its move to continuing using a cemetery that is starting to run out of space.

Council has approved a master plan for the Fairview Cemetery East Expansion.

On its regular meeting on June 24, council requested that some changes and revisions be made to the Master Cemetery Expansion Concept Plan designed by Lees and Associates.

Those revisions were then presented to council at its regular meeting on July 22 and council voted in favour of adopting the plan.

An issue that generated some discussion in June but did not receive much attention this time around was the possibility of moving some of the remains already buried in the cemetery to make way for some new roadways.

Councillor Grant Creasey had requested what the estimated costs to disinter and reinter those remains would be.

He also said that, while removing remains of loved ones was always a sensitive issue, he believed Lacombians were practical people who probably wouldn’t mind if only a handful of graves be disturbed in order to save them a lot of money.

Moving the columbarium, which contains the remains of cremated individuals, was also something that Creasey wanted additional information about.

At Monday’s meeting, the little bit of discussion that was centered around moving remains made it clear it was not something council wanted to do.

“I have had quite a few conversations about moving anything as far as people’s remains,” said Councillor Wayne Rempel. “People that I have talked to, they don’t care if the cost is almost nothing to do it, they don’t want any remains moved at all.”

Mayor Steve Christie agreed.

“I am certainly glad that we are off that topic because that is not something that I would ever, ever, support,” said Christie.

One change that was made to the previous plan was the changing of a protective services section of the cemetery to optional.

Chris McBride, who presented the revised plan on behalf of LEES and Associates, said that they had touched base with the local Fire Chief Ed Van Delden and Chief of Police Steve Murray to arrive at the decision.

McBride said that while neither police or fire services said ‘yay or nay’ to the option, they were not sure if there would be enough demand to warrant an exclusive protective services section of the cemetery.

He added that, should the City discover that land would be needed in the coming years, it could easily be phased into in-ground cremation, in-ground burial or left as grass space for now.

A proposed secondary entrance to the cemetery was another issue that received discussion at council’s previous meeting.

Council had expressed concern that the two entries would be placed too close together, causing congestion and traffic problems during interment services.

Also, putting a new gate in the proposed location would require replacing a fairly new and costly fence.

In response to these concerns, McBride said that the second entrance had been moved further east.

He added that the secondary entrance would have no immediate cost as it would be phased in over 15 years from now.

Space is quickly running out in the Fairview Cemetery.

Currently, only 30 plots are available for in-ground burial.

This new plan should suffice for Fairview Cemetery capacity needs for the next 70 – 75 years.