Coun. Anena Simpson is investigating a place of remembrance in Pitt Meadows. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

Pitt Meadows council looking for place of remembrance

No place in the city for people to grieve said Simpson

Pitt Meadows council will be investigating a new place in the city where people can remember their loved ones who have passed.

Coun. Anena Simpson, a former pastor, will gather information and review potential financial impacts, and report back to Mayor Bill Dingwall and CAO Mark Roberts about the place of remembrance.

Dingwall said it was a matter raised during the last term of council by a member of the public, and it’s one that he agrees with in principle.

“I think it’s a great initiative,” said Dingwall, adding that people who have lived their life in Pitt Meadows have no option to be interred or cremated in the city, and most go to Maple Ridge or Port Coquitlam.

This initiative could result in land donated for a larger facility, or a quiet setting with benches, trees and a memorial.

“It’s really open at this point,” he said.

Simpson said she heard about this issue during the election campaign from members of the public.

“Our residents are very connected to the land, and some have lived here for generations,” she said.

Simpson will get staff to research a past offer by a resident to donate land to partner with the city for a place of remembrance. She will not reveal the family’s name at this time, but there is potential for the city to obtain a piece of property for the project, if the offer still stands.

Her understanding is that the floodplain precludes establishing a cemetery in the city, even though the motion passed by council reads “a dedicated place of remembrance, such as a cemetery, prayer location, urn repository, garden, park or other location would provide the community with a facility for those community members who wish to make use of it.”

Simpson said there is potential for a mausoleum-type of facility, where urns or even coffins could be placed.

She was happy the mayor asked her to take on this project.

“I have walked closely with families who are grieving,” she said, adding she knows the importance of having a place to grieve.

Coun. Mike Hayes has also done research for this project when he was on the Pitt Meadows Community Foundation and will be working with Simpson on the project.

There had been plans for a memorial garden in Osprey Village, feature 10 cm square granite markers, but the project was opposed by neighbours.

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