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Reports coming on pet cemetery and how to handle pioneer cemeteries

The municipality will explore the possibility of establishing a pet cemetery, and report back to the Cemetery Advisory Committee.

Sandra Latchford, chair, told the committee there is a perfect location for the pet cemetery beside Glenwood Cemetery and near the dog park.

“There is a nice trail and existing road access. As per the Funeral, Burials and Cremation Services Act, animals can not be buried with human remains, which is why this cannot be done on Glenwood property,” she noted.

Helma Oonk, manager, cemeterian at Glenwood, added there are minimal costs to operate a pet cemetery.

“The revenues would exceed expenses,” she said, adding, information from the municipality regarding land boundaries is needed.

Latchford said requirements would need to be explored, but there could be full burials or cremations of pets.

Cemeteries are approached on a regular basis about pet burials.

“Also, if you live in an apartment or condo you can’t bury on your own property. People have less property now and are looking for a place to bury their pets.”

Staff will also prepare a report by the end of 2021 with a long-term strategy for managing the County’s pioneer cemeteries.

Latchford stated to the committee that there needs to be a cost-effective plan for managing the pioneer cemeteries, so that the County does not face significant financial losses.

Costs include grass cutting, maintenance and fixing headstones.

A draft letter from the cemetery advisory committee will also be sent to the Bereavement Authority of Ontario regarding proposed changes to care and maintenance fund regulations in the Funeral Burial and Cremation Services Act.

The committee, and County, note concern as the municipality must manages more than 50 active and inactive cemeteries with limited resources.

“Further, when cemeteries are deemed abandoned and transferred to the municipality, they often come with limited financial resources and significant maintenance requirements,” the letter states. “By loosening the regulations of care and maintenance funds, it is very likely that private cemeteries will over-spend their maintenance funds and not save enough for the future needs of the cemeteries.

“This would impose even greater financial risks to municipalities who may take possession of these assets in the future. We strongly encourage the
government of Ontario to not make these changes to the care and maintenance fund regulations of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002, and that borrowing from the capital portion of the funds should be limited to 10 per cent, instead of the entire pool of funds.”

The letter states municipality does support the proposed rate increases and reviewing the minimum care and maintenance fund contributions every five years.

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  1. angela says:

    You’re right there, Philip. I had a friend who did this with a family member’s ashes and no one was the wiser.

  2. Philip says:

    Nearly every cemetery looks the other way as people spread their pets ashes on the family plot. Using valuable land for pet graves will not make money in the long term.

  3. angela says:

    A pet cemetery sounds like a poorly thought out idea. All vet clinics today offer cremation both private and communal as well as memorial paw prints. There is a selection of urns and the pet’s names are engraved on them. People without land of their own or those who prefer to keep their pet’s ashes in their homes can choose either of these options.

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