A ‘maybe’ on mausoleums in Peace River

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

The Town of Peace River is considering adding mausoleums to a draft bylaw that will also allow for a columbarium to be added to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

A mausoleum holds the remains of one or more people who have passed away, and is built above ground. The monument may hold multiple family members, and can also include a room inside for grieving visitors.

“You’re not going to see a lot of mausoleums in the cemetery, but there are families in town that do have the means to do this,” Town engineer Jim McCuaig says.

The Town has received its first request for a mausoleum from a resident, and at their regular meeting Jan. 11 administration asked council whether they wanted to include mausoleums in the new Cemetery Bylaw to be reviewed by council in February.

Mausoleums can range from $30,000 to $150,000 in price depending on how elaborate they are, and McCuaig suggested the Town could charge around the same price as for a private double plot to place them. Residents would be responsible for the cost of the mausoleum.

“I recommend we intersperse them, that way we’re not creating a little banker’s avenue for mausoleums,” McCuaig says.

Councillor Colin Needham took issue with the sudden addition, noting Deputy Mayor Elaine Manzer has spent two terms of her political life trying to bring forward a potential columbarium to be added to the cemetery. A columbarium holds urns that contain the ashes of the deceased after cremation.

Councillor Orren Ford’s main concern is whether mausoleums might be subject to vandalism.

Mayor Tom Tarpey is more concerned the Town is not considering charging enough for the plots.

McCuaig says a double plot ranges from $500 to $5,000, but Tarpey says there should be a user pay structure to having a mausoleum, especially if the monument potentially stands for 100 to 500 years.

“A lot of people want to build a monument to their prosperity but I don’t want the town to be subsidizing it. If anything, we should be making money off it,” Tarpey says.

“If you want a view of the river while you’re waiting to move through purgatory you should have to pay for it.”

Council ultimately decided to accept administration’s briefing for information and has sent the idea back to administration for additional development.

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