Fruitvale council is studying options for its cemetery

Fruitvale council is studying options for its cemetery

Fruitvale facing lack of cemetery plots

Only one burial plot remains for sale in the Fruitvale municipal cemetery.

Fruitvale is down to its final resting place.

Only one burial plot remains for sale in the municipal cemetery, forcing village administration to unearth a solution to dig themselves out of the predicament.

On Monday night village council agreed to submit a request to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary on a capital budget for cemetery services, including an addition to the columbarium, a public storage of cinerary urns that holds a deceased’s cremated remains.

The columbarium addition — which could cost $45,000 — would allow the 59-year-old cemetery to accommodate the growing number of cremations, adding another bank to the two existing columbarium.

But that would not deal with the limited ground in the cemetery. Coun. Larry Gray said a plan is needed now to figure out how to address the scarcity.

As the chair of the regional district board of directors, Gray noted the lack of cemetery space was also a region-wide concern, hinting a solution should come from that governing body.

“We’re basically running out of space everywhere and we need some sort of plan for the future,” Gray told     council.

“There is a need for some regional planning. The regional district needs to be thinking of a long-term plan for the area.”

The preliminary budget request will be sent to the regional district board for approval this month.

The regional district provides the cemetery service — through a region-wide tax requisition — but the village owns the cemetery.

Once they have obtained regional district endorsement on the preliminary budget, Gray said they could look into a potential opportunity to expand the area of the cemetery.

The big money issues in the cemetery budget have to do with capital projects, village chief administrative officer Lila Cresswell explained to council.

Total capital costs are $62,000 of the $109,200 the village is asking for to operate the Fruitvale Memorial Cemetery.

Within the budget the village will attempt establish a program for regular maintenance on the graves and their headstones. Every year maintenance must be done on the graves to raise their grades and re-align their markers.

In 2011 a program of regular upkeep of monuments and grave restoration/raising was initiated based on a cemetery grave inventory done in 2010.

For 2012 and subsequent years, the assumption is an additional man day per week would be scheduled from June through September to ensure that damaged monuments and sunken graves are dealt with routinely, said Cresswell.

“It seems to be that if you don’t designate someone to do that work it just doesn’t get done. Other things get precedence,” she said.

Regular cemetery maintenance costs are based on the upkeep of lawns, the irrigation system, trees, fencing and for general landscaping.

The capital projects budget also asks for $15,000 for a memorial stone installation by the Beaver Valley Blooming Society.

The memorial stone is for people who are not buried in the graveyard but have a heritage connection to the area, pioneers, also for people who have had their ashes scattered in the area instead of being buried.