MAPLETON – Council here has chosen to put the brakes on increases to interment fees at municipally-owned cemeteries.
On Nov. 24, councillor Michael Martin put forward a notice of motion asking council to reconsider its decision on the finance report that suggested increasing fees in municipal cemeteries:
– by 300 per cent (from $375 to $1,500) for cremation plots in the cremation gardens; and
– by 173% (from $825 to $2,250) for non-cremation lots per grave.
He also asked that the passing of the interment fees bylaw be moved from Dec. 8 to Jan. 4.
Council discussed the notice of motion on Dec. 8.
“I think … the motion is pretty self-explanatory to be honest,” Martin said. “(It’s) based on the feedback that we’ve had from numerous parts of the township and also the delegation we received last meeting.
“I just think it warrants some more discussion and I think to revisit it in January is a prudent act on our part I think, based on the information that we’ve gotten back. So that’s all I’m looking for.”
At the Nov. 24 council meeting, Ken Thompson of Heritage Funeral Homes Inc. urged council to keep cemetery interment fee increases to a reasonable level.
“I would like to start by saying we are not opposed to increases happening,” Thompson said at the Nov. 24 council meeting. “That is certainly a part of how the world works.
“However, these proposed increases are most certainly unreasonable.”
On Dec. 8, Martin also asked to amend his motion so staff was not constrained by a deadline to complete whatever reports are necessary.
“I know after our delegation last meeting the CAO was talking about maybe having a sit down and talking about maybe a more fulsome discussion about our cemeteries plan moving forward,” he said.
“I don’t, unless director (John) Morrison has an objection to the timing, I don’t think there’s any real hurry to make this happen.
“Maybe it could be part of a bigger discussion, bigger conversation about the Mapleton cemeteries.”
Councillor Marlene Ottens said she supports the motion.
“I think we need to do better comparators with our local cemeteries rather than reaching beyond to Waterloo and further afield,” she said.
“If we’re going to raise prices and change rates then it should be compared to what’s local, not what’s further off. So that would be something in a report if we’re going to discuss this again, maybe some more information that’s more pertinent would be important.”
Councillor Dennis Craven also supported the motion.
“I’m still getting comments from people about this and I think we’ve got to think this over pretty carefully before we proceed,” he said.
Council chose to consider the bylaw at a future date to be determined by staff.