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I would like to commend Glenda Luymes wholeheartedly on her article of yesterday, reflecting an urgent underserved need of the people of Vancouver, the need for an environmentally friendly and sustainable supply of burial space.
How did we arrive at this challenging situation? Glen Hodges’ helpful observation, I believe, can shed a lot of light: "There is the thought of allowing strangers to share space, to occupy it only for a certain time," he said, adding it would require a shift in current thinking that says cemetery space can only be sold one time, forever.
What most Vancouverites may not realize is that Mr. Hodge’s cemetery, Mountain View at 41st and Fraser, Vancouver, is the only cemetery west of Quebec that allows land reuse, within the same family, after 40 years.
Most Vancouverites also may not know that this ban on an owner's right to reuse a burial plot is pretty well unique to North America. No other continent dictates that every burial* must require a new plot of land. This practice is unsustainable, and it flies in the face our collective effort to preserve our environment. As it artificially inflates the cost of burial, it also constitutes an assault on both the personal and public coffers.
As long time residents and family funeral home owners, my entire family shares this deep concern for the skyrocketing costs and limited options this creates for families. We urge our civic and provincial leaders to take swift and decisive action.
- Tom Crean
Kearney Funeral Services
* Many cemeteries allow two people to be buried in a plot, called 'double depth burial', but each of the two spots can only be used once.
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