Mau­soleum ap­proval leaves res­i­dents con­cerned

Ceme­tery build­ing higher than what city by­law al­lows

Richmond Hill Post - - Neighbourh­ood News - by Jen­nifer Cheng

The City of Markham has left res­i­dents near Holy Cross Catholic Ceme­tery feel­ing some­what de­flated af­ter the ap­proval of a mau­soleum de­sign — which is al­most twice the height of what is al­lowed un­der the city by­law — at a Com­mit­tee of Ad­just­ment meet­ing on June 10, said coun­cil­lor Va­lerie Burke.

Although the city’s by­law al­lows for 40 feet, com­mit­tee mem­bers voted to ap­prove the ceme­tery’s “mi­nor vari­ance” re­quest to dou­ble the height of the build­ing to 78 feet af­ter plan­ning staff said the dis­tance be­tween the pro­posed Holy Trin­ity Mau­soleum and the rear yards of the residentia­l prop­er­ties to the south is greater than that of the ex­ist­ing Holy Fam­ily Mau­soluem to the east.

Res­i­dent Adam Cla­men said by­laws are in place to pro­tect cit­i­zens. “If [by­laws] can be skirted around with such le­niency, I think it’s scary,” he said.

It also didn’t help that the ceme­tery was not flex­i­ble about the build­ing de­sign at a com­mu­nity meet­ing held on May 14, said Burke, who has heard other con­cerns from res­i­dents about noise, dust and storm wa­ter man­age­ment.

Holy Cross said this cen­tral struc­ture — the sec­ond and big­gest of three planned mau­soleums — is higher be­cause it con­forms to clas­si­cal ar­chi­tec­ture.

The Greco-Ro­man style build­ing will have four storeys, each with six lev­els of crypts, as per stan­dard mau­soleum ar­chi­tec­ture, ac­cord­ing to Amy Pro­fenna, man­ager of mar­ket­ing and public re­la­tions for Catholic Ceme­ter­ies & Fu­neral Ser­vices – Arch­dio­cese of Toronto, owner of Holy Cross.

Pro­fenna added that the cur­rent three-storey mau­soleum, which can house 5,941 crypts, is al­most at full ca­pac­ity, whereas the new build­ing will have 6,320 crypts. The build­ing is sized to ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of Catholics liv­ing in Markham.

The Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of York is cur­rently con­duct­ing a ceme­tery needs anal­y­sis to find out if there is a “lack of op­por­tu­ni­ties to es­tab­lish new or ex­panded ceme­tery uses in York Re­gion, given pro­vin­cial and re­gional land use pol­icy di­rec­tion, avail­able land sup­ply and eco­nom­ics,” ac­cord­ing to a re­port dated April 16, 2015, from the re­gion’s com­mis­sioner of cor­po­rate ser­vices

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has also asked the province to con­sider re­mov­ing the re­quire­ment that ceme­ter­ies be “small scale” on ru­ral lands as part of its sub­mis­sions to the province for the 10-year re­view of the Green­belt this past May. The new mau­soleum will be lo­cated on Langstaff Road near Bayview Av­enue and High­way 7, west of the ceme­tery.

Cla­men’s neigh­bour Kaaren Bell said she is think­ing of mov­ing. “When we moved here over 40 years ago, it was a corn­field, and we knew that it was go­ing to be a ceme­tery one day.”

“But there’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween what peo­ple think of as a ceme­tery, which is a pretty area with grave­stones, gar­dens and places for re­flec­tion, ver­sus putting in a very large mau­soleum the size of a Costco, only much, much taller,” said Bell.

A ren­der­ing of a four-storey mau­soleum planned for west of Holy Cross

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