By Cole Parkinson
Rates for the new Vauxhall Cemetery columbarium have been agreed upon between the Vauxhall Cemetery Society and Vauxhall town council.
Originally prices were looked at being set at $800 for a single space and $1,000 for a double but the VCS suggested $1,000 for a single and $1,350 for a double.
With 72 available spots in the columbarium (36 single and 36 double) many councillors felt that the prices suggested were too high, especially when burying ashes in a grave would be cheaper.
“I’m not opposed to their suggestion, if people continue to buy graves to bury ashes, that will be a sure sign that the prices are too high. If they’re selling then the price is clearly okay because right now it would still be cheaper to buy a grave to bury ashes,” said Richard Phillips, deputy mayor for Vauxhall during council’s Oct. 16 meeting.
While prices for the columbarium were one of the focal points of the meeting, another big issue were rates for residents and non-residents in the cemetery.
Non residents are classified as being people who have been living away from Vauxhall for six months or more.
Councillors weren’t happy with different rates as many people decide to come back and be buried in their hometown of Vauxhall but they get charged more.
“If you want to get buried here I don’t care where you live or where you come from,” said Martin Kondor, former councillor for Vauxhall.
The councillor’s argument for one standard rate for anyone looking to be buried in Vauxhall was based on the fact that anyone wanting to be buried there would have most likely been from Vauxhall.
“We’re not going to have people from Vancouver say ‘wow Vauxhall looks like a great place to be buried,” said Phillips with a chuckle. “We’re never going to be a destination burial (location), non-residents are going to be former residents.”
While they hope that the columbarium fills out quickly, the different rates for resident and non-resident was a sticking point to agreeing with the proposed rates.
With the money made from the first columbarium going towards a potential second one, council questioned whether or not they needed two different rates.
“When we do need a another columbarium we are going to be using the money from this to purchase another one. Does it matter that a non resident who doesn’t pay taxes in town gets the same price?” said Margaret Plumtree, mayor of Vauxhall.
Other councillors echoed the sentiment that people who return to be buried will be people who consider Vauxhall to be their home.
“People don’t live here anymore but this is still their home,” said Coun. Kim Cawley.
Phillips proposed a motion to accept the committee’s rates as long as they scrapped the resident/non-resident rates for all burial types.