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Spot chosen for Vauxhall Cemetery’s new columbarium

Posted on April 20, 2017 by Vauxhall Advance

Resting place: Council’s decision influenced by traffic, grave sightlines and space

Nikki Jamieson
Vauxhall Advance

A small snag was found when the Vauxhall Cemetery Committee requested the town’s input on the placement of a new columbarium.

During their regular April 3 meeting, Vauxhall town council received a request from the Vauxhall Cemetery for input on the location of a new columbarium in the local cemetery.

The committee’s preferred location for it is along the edge of the south end of the cemetery, at the bottom of the main path of the eastern entrance. Although at first glance, it is a good location for it, except for one small detail; that spot is not on town-owned land.

“The place they were discussing as where they want to put it, actually isn’t town property. It’s over the old fence line, which is (Municipal District of Taber) property, which means they need an M.D. development permit,” said Cris Burns, CAO for Vauxhall.

“The town doesn’t have authority to put the cemetery in the M.D. grounds. The remains in this (columbarium) would be off town property, when it should be within the town cemetery.”

As they cannot approve that location, administration has proposed five other potential spots; spot ‘A’ is located on the north side of the south path and the path off the western entrance; ‘B’ is located on the eastern side of the path off the eastern entrance before the north path; ‘C; is located on the eastern side of the path off the eastern entrance between the north and south path; ‘D’ is located on the west side of the path off the eastern entrance adjacent to the north path; and ‘E’ is located on the north side of the north path at the east end of the cemetery.

Burns told council that waterlines can be moved if in the way. Mayor Margaret Plumtree reported that Coun. Richard Phillips and Coun. Linda English — who were both absent from the meeting — liked either option A or B. Coun. Martin Kondor asked about site E, adding they could put trees around the columbarium if it was placed there.

“It’s actually a high spot,” said Burns, answering a councillor’s concerns.

“(The cemetery committee) believes it’s a low spot, but it’s actually a high spot out there, except for where the shed is.”

“You got all kinds of room to work with there (around site E),” said Kondor.

“The committee’s request we can’t even agree with because it’s not town property, so we can’t even say go ahead there. You can put it where A or B is, sure, it will fit there, but what can you do with that?” said Kondor.

Council expressed concern over parking at the A or B sites, although administration said there is no room to park around site B.

Additionally, with the proposed columbarium standing at approximently five feet high on a concrete pad thats 15 by 25 feet, Kondor voiced a concern over possible sight issues for graves located around the A, B, D and C sites.

“I just see a huge problem with any one out of the four, if you’re putting somebody that’s going to block somebody’s headstone off when they drive in and they can’t see there their headstone,” said Kondor.

Kondor noted that while the placement of the columbarium at those sites would be convenient, issues could arise from those whose loved ones are buried around those sites, should council decides to place it there, due to visibility issues from the sheer size of the columbarium.

“I just think where any of these circles are, you should get the okay from the people that’s headstone is going to be blocked from the road,” said Kondor. “You can still walk around and see, but some people just like to drive by and drive in (to see).”

“With how big they (the columbariums) are, they should be more off to the side,” said Christie Sorensen, Vauxhall councillor.

Council also noted that if the columbarium was located more off to the side of the graveyard, in the future, should they need to, they can always add a new one beside it. Council approved a motion to recommend the placement of the columbarium on site E, and write a letter to the cemetery committee explaining their requested spot had to be turned down as it was not on town land.

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