Mayor drops columbarium idea for Lake Cowichan

Forrest presents columbarium vision to council members

The prospect of a columbarium for Lake Cowichan has been brought up for discussion and contemplation at the council table.

The idea was presented by Mayor Ross Forrest following feedback at a recent public meeting involving business owners around town.

A columbarium is a structure which allows for funeral urns to be stored inside.

“We have no cemetery here,” said Forrest at last week’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee meeting. “A columbarium is an alternative to a full burial. It’s not going to please everybody but this would allow people to stay here.”

Forrest stated he is thus far unsure of costs or zoning changes which would be needed to bring a columbarium to Lake Cowichan.

Chief administrator Joseph Fernandez confirmed that a study was done in the past that determined “Lake Cowichan doesn’t have the land for a cemetery.”

“This (columbarium) is not going to happen this season now but we could look at the zoning issues,” said Fernandez at the meeting. “It would be a matter of finding out a location for it.”

Coun. Tim McGonigle is all for it.

“You can live here, you just can’t live here and die here,” he said. “This has always been an issue as long as I’ve been at the table. It’s an excellent idea that doesn’t need to be a full blown cemetery. It’s also a provincially legislated service but you don’t need a lot of room for it. It’s just for cremations and urns.

“It’s not a money maker so if we’re looking to make money off it we’re in the wrong business. It’s a place for people to pay their respects.”

Forrest stated he merely just wanted to “get the dialogue started.”

“It’s all about giving people a place to go and visit. I know our budget is already approved and I understand a full burial is not going to happen. However, it’s a very good alternative for people to choose that direction. We are an aging community and now is the time.”