Development application for crematorium gets the green light
The City of Swift Current has approved an application for the construction and operation of a crematorium at the Memory Gardens Cemetery. Councillors approved this discretionary use application during a regular council meeting, July 30.
The proposal for a crematorium was submitted to the City by Warren & Son Ltd, a family business that operates Warren's Funeral Home in Swift Current.
The company also owns and operates Memory Gardens Cemetery, which is located at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Memorial Drive.
The cemetery is situated in an area zoned as an urban reserve district, and the operation of a crematorium is therefore a discretionary use that requires council approval.
“Any proposed discretionary use requires council to consider whether the proposed use conforms to the zoning bylaw's site regulations and development standards, will not be a source of nuisance or endanger the public, and will not impede the orderly development of the surrounding property,” City General Manager of Planning and Development Michael Ruus told the meeting. “Additional procedures for public consultation are also required to assist council in making their decision.”
He highlighted the various steps in the public consultation process that were completed before the application was presented to council for consideration. All property owners within a 75-metre radius of the proposed crematorium were notified about the development application, and a public notice was advertised in a local newspaper and on the City website.
A public hearing was held during the June 16 regular council meeting. Representatives of the applicant spoke in support of the proposal during the hearing, but there were no other presentation in favour or against the crematorium. The City also did not receive any other objections or negative comments about the development.
Brad Warren provided some details about the company's motivation for the project at the public hearing.
“This would be beneficial to us, possibly the other two funeral homes in town, and other funeral homes in the district,” he said. “As of now, we do all travelling to Moose Jaw or Medicine Hat to have our cremations take place.”
He noted that Warren Funeral Homes has been using a different crematory in Moose Jaw since the middle of March, and they have already done approximately 75 to 85 cremations with the new crematory. Their average over a year is probably 130 to 140 cremations.
“With us now as a funeral home travelling to Moose Jaw, there have been many weeks where we're on the road four to five times in a week, travelling up with cremains, picking up cremains and coming back,” he said.
The new crematorium will be designed to be a discreet building that will be located further back on the property between trees. It will include an office space and a space where families can meet before a cremation, if they wish to be present. He emphasized there will be no emissions from the operation of the crematorium.
“Basically it is just a clear vapour that would come out of the stack,” Warren said. “In the case of a disruption or where you have something that does complicate thing, then it would be a black type smoke, but with our regulations, if something like that did occur, then we would need to write an incident report and report that to our funeral council.”
Ruus mentioned during his presentation to council on July 30 that the development of the crematorium at this site will have to comply with the conditions of a flood impact analysis study, which was done by a professional engineer.
“The development site is located within a designated area of the zoning bylaw's flood hazard map and required a flood impact analysis by a professional engineer,” he explained. “This analysis studies flow and elevation data to determine site-specific design standards that mitigate effects of the proposed structure in the 1:500-year flood plain.”
Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault said it is exciting to see additional investment by a local business in the community.
“Sitting on the mayor's caucus, I have the good privilege of talking to other mayors across our province and at present we have the fastest approval for time than any other community across this province as regards to a development permit and a building permit,” he said. “That happens as a direct result of the team that works with our local contractors, but also they understand how important it is to be bringing new business to our community.”