An approved expansion of the Fort Saskatchewan Cemetery should ensure the city has enough burial space available to last until at least 2043.
Fort Saskatchewan council voted in favour of the addition on Tuesday (Jul.10), redistricting a one acre portion of land south of the existing cemetery grounds to make more room available for future interments. The newly rezoned land is owned by the city and currently unoccupied.
The cemetery, in use since 1899, is currently 9.6 acres in size; the city predicts the site will run out of burial space by about 2027.
The city’s 2017 cemetery master plan calls for a staged southward expansion of the cemetery grounds over the next 25 years and beyond. Resident Margaret Tomkow, who lives in Clover Park, a neighbourhood nearby the cemetery, was at Tuesday’s meeting to share some of her concerns. Tomkow had no issue with changes planned for the near future but voiced her objection to the longer-term developments outlined in the master plan.
"Quite often, things progress fairly quickly within the city and maybe it is 20 years from now before you go into phase 3, but I want it on record now that phase 3 is something that I am not going to be looking forward to."
Developments proposed in the city's more than $1,000,000 25-year plan for the expanded grounds include an enhanced cremation garden, landscaping, and more room for both casket and in-ground cremation plots.
Councillor Lisa Makin hinted that she had taken Tomkow’s concerns to heart.
"I'd just like to thank the Clover Park residents who phoned and e-mailed and sent their comments to council,” Makin said. “I do believe that phase 1 is good planning moving forward. And I would like to see us do some changes to the cemetery plan, but that's something that I'll bring forward this fall."
Council unanimously voted in favour of the expansion.
Council also agreed to a proposal to close a portion of a currently unused road right-of-way to accommodate the larger cemetery. The closed right-of-way will become part of the cemetery grounds.