Staff with the City of Pitt Meadows will explore creating both a place of remembrance and creation of a cemetery.
Coun. Anena Simpson, a former minister in her professional life, led the initiative to create the facilities in the city and said there was support for the initiative from the public.
“Residents who live in Pitt Meadows want to remain in Pitt Meadows when they die,” Simpson said. “That is what we’ve heard quite a bit.”
She looked at places of remembrance in other cities, including Port Moody and Port Coquitlam.
Simpson started looking at a place of remembrance in December, but with potential partners coming forward, did not want to rule out a cemetery before staff could investigate.
Simpson also found that A Last Post, an organization which works with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, contacted her about the matter. It wants to ensure veterans receive a proper burial and is willing to “participate quite significantly.”
A Catholic cemetery organization in Surrey is also interested in partnering with the city to create burial sites.
Simpson talked at Tuesday’s council meeting about how difficult it is to say goodbye to someone who passes away.
“If we, as a city, can offer something for this very difficult journey for the residents of our community, I think it would be extremely worthwhile.”
Coun. Tracy Miyashita said she would like to hear from residents about the issue.
“There are some people who have lived here their entire lives and would like to stay here,” she said.
Coun. Mike Hayes did research for a place of remembrance seven years ago, and called it long overdue.
“I’ve often said to my kids they will likely bury me in the backyard, I’ve been here so long,” said Hayes. “So having a place of interment would probably be a good thing.”
A memorial prayer garden was proposed for Osprey Village in 2014, but the project was terminated due to resident opposition.
Council unanimously supported motions to direct city staff to include a plan to explore both a place of remembrance and “an above ground burial site,” including developing partnerships for the initiative.
Simpson said existing parks could be used for the project, but no sites have been identified yet.
Staff time is being directed toward other initiatives at present, and this issue will get more attention during the fall business planning process for the 2020 budget, she added.