The Town of Strathmore will consider amending the local cemetery bylaw, following a presentation to the Committee of the Whole, Oct. 11. 

“When people are at a heightened emotional state, even basic day-to-day decisions can feel staggering. Those who are responsible for planning and organizing the end-of-life planning processes are making many difficult decisions during that time,” said Donna McCallum, operations manager for the Town of Strathmore. “If they have chosen the Town of Strathmore cemetery as their final resting place, our goal is to ensure that their experience is efficient and seamless, not only for the client, but also for administration.”

The Town of Strathmore is the legal owner of, and maintains being the legal responsible party for the entire local cemetery. 

This means the town is responsible for the enforcement of the cemetery bylaw, as well as conformance with the Cemetery Act. 

According to McCallum, the last occasions when the town’s cemetery master plan was discussed, were in 2014, and in 2019, respectively. 

“With regards to community wellness, updating the cemetery bylaw will enable administration to provide an improved experience for those seeking the Town of Strathmore as their final resting place,” she said. “Right now, the current bylaw is difficult to administer. A clearly defined bylaw will enable staff to have the language to communicate effectively with the clients. Updating the bylaw will enable administration to maintain our existing asset and continue to plan for and manage long-term growth.”

McCallum added updating the bylaw will provide a host of improvements such as allowing for focused and efficient administration and maintenance of the cemetery, and the ability to provide valuable services and support of respectful, caring and proficient experiences. 

Other improvements are listed both in the Committee of the Whole agenda, as well as the recorded meeting minutes – both of which are publicly available.

Many of the amendments to the bylaw are clarity of definitions within the document, such as administration of the bylaw in regards to expectations with internments and disinterment, clarified language in regards to monuments, unclear expectations with regards to work and construction and maintenance done in the cemetery, outlines of expectations of visitors, liability, and cost recovery.

“The cemetery not only has a connection to the community, but also to the staff who work in the cemetery,” added McCallum. “The majority of the staff who conduct work in all aspects of the cemetery are local – many of them are long-time residents, they grew up and went to school here and on many occasions are prepping burial plots for people they know or have been acquainted with.”

Following lengthy discussion, the Committee of the Whole accepted McCallum’s presentation. No date at which the bylaw will appear before town council was formally set, as of the Oct. 11 meeting.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Oct 18, 2023 at 16:02

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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