The issue of a shortage of burial space in the Fruitvale Memorial Cemetery can finally be laid to rest.
On Monday night Village of Fruitvale council secured cemetery services for the region for the next 25 years with the announcement the village has purchased a neighbouring strip of land.
The 20-foot, by 317-foot plot will be enough for the village to fulfill burial requirements for over 25 years, said village chief administrative officer Lila Cresswell.
“Based on the sales we’ve had in the last five years, that will do us for quite a while,” she said. “That’s why we didn’t need a huge amount of space.”
The village sold its last plot in April. The cost for the new piece of land was not available.
The village gets around five requests for full burial plots per year, and now they can accommodate around 80 to 150 more plots with the new addition, located between Pine and Tamarack streets.
“About 85 per cent of people go for cremation. But there are still some that go for full burial and that’s why we don’t have any spots left,” Cresswell explained.
However, Cresswell said there are still places for cremated remains in the original cemetery, as well as columbarium spots.
Village councillor Larry Gray said now the site needs fencing, to be cleared of brush and trees, it has to be surveyed and laid out.
The cemetery is the place of choice for the Beaver Valley, including Fruitvale and Montrose.
The purchase of the land won’t undermine the East End Services Committee’s (EESC) pledge to undertake a long-term plan for the development and provision of cemetery services in the region, said Gray.
“No, this just adds to it,” he said.
The plan was necessitated when it was determined that no spots were left in two of the three cemeteries in the region—with only Trail’s Mountain View Cemetery having available plots.
Currently, all burials taking place in the region are in Trail, with around 600 burial plots left in the Mountain View Cemetery for sale.
The East End communities of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary contribute to the operation of cemeteries in the Greater Trail region, but the RDKB has no role in the ownership or management of the facilities.
Fruitvale, Trail and Rossland all own their respective cemeteries—with Rossland being deemed historical in nature only. The regional district provides the cemetery service through a region-wide tax requisition.
There are currently around 15,000 burials in the Trail cemetery. However, of the average of 50 requests per year for cemetery services, almost 95 per cent of them are for cremations. In some cases, families are buying one plot for several cremations, or using existing family plots to bury cremations.
In February Gray said the lack of cemetery space was a region-wide concern, calling for a long-term, region-wide plan for the area.
“We’re basically running out of space everywhere and we need some sort of plan for the future,” Gray said at the time.
RDKB are developing of a terms of reference and a study budget for the committee’s consideration during financial plan deliberations.