The City of Lethbridge will soon offer a new, environmentally friendly way to lay your loved ones to rest.
Space has been put aside at Royal View Memorial Cemetery for green burials.
For the city’s cemetery foreman, the concept is the old meeting the new.
Ryan Chudyk said traditionally, some families used to lay their family members to rest on their property.
“They probably used wood from the farm to actually build the casket.
“It kind of still has that spiritual element, but it also has the environmental ideals of today,” he said.
Chudyk said enough room for about 1,300 burial sites has been put aside at the cemetery.
The city is still in development and planning stages for the project.
The site will have no individual memorialization, which means no tombstones.
However Chudyk said a communal one could be put in place.
In order for a burial to be deemed green, there can be chemicals used to preserve a corpse and the body has to be placed in a biodegradable casket, among other requirements.
The city said inquiries about green burials first came up in 2011.
Chudyk said there is a list of just under 100 people who are interested in having a green burial.
But a local funeral home said it’s not seeing the same level of interest.
Cornerstone Funeral Home said it hasn’t seen a large demand for greener services, but it is ready to make them more available.
“We currently have caskets that are quite readily combustible down to the natural products that they’re made from – whether that is for burial or for cremation,” said owner Ralph Zentner.
According to the Green Burial Society of Canada, three cemeteries have been approved as certified providers for green burials – two on Vancouver Island and one in Niagara Falls.
The city said if there is demand for green burials, there is the option to make more space available.
“Other than just the planning stages and the coordinating how we’re actually going to do the work. But other than that, it’s very easy for us to expand and we have the space,” Chudyk said.
He said green burial sites require less maintenance.
The program is expected to be completed and ready to go in the spring.
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