Wednesday, February 24, 2016

MD of Pincher Creek council approves Fairview Cemetery columbarium project

Christian Davis

At their meeting on the afternoon of February 23 council for the Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 discussed at length a letter received from the Town of Pincher Creek regarding the Fairview Cemetery Columbarium project.  The letter was sent by the Town prior to Town of Pincher Creek council discussing and approving the project at their regular meeting the evening before the MD's meeting.

Cemetery maintenance is the responsibility of the Pincher Creek Regional Parks and Recreation Board. The Town of Pincher Creek is the designated signing authority for cemetery monies. The project is expected to cost between $80,000 and $100,000. Town council decided to fund the full amount with the expectation that revenue from selling inurnments would in time repay that investment. The issue was discussed at the Town's February 3, 2016 Committee of Whole meeting. The committee determined that "the columbarium costs may be taken from the perpetual care endowment fund Bylaw 1017 from June 1965 and recovered through customer niche sales." The Town requested the MD's participation "and payment preference ie: Perpetual Care fund or Municipal General revenue".

MD Reeve Brian Hammond is a member of the Cemetery committee. He expressed no objections to the project itself but said he was concerned about the way it might be funded, specifically objecting to the use of the perpetual care fund for a "one off project". Reeve Hammond said it was his understanding that any money used from the perpetual care fund was reimbursed within a year. "Who's going to come up with the money to put back in?" he asked. "If you borrow 80 thousand dollars from the perpetual care fund, assuming that was the understanding, are you going to put 80 thousand dollars back in within the next 12 months? So where does that come from?"

"You're not going to sell 72 units in one year... you might be lucky if you sell a dozen. Let us cover the 80 thousand dollars, in other words."

Council discussed the issue, specifically which way to fund it, at length, with clarifications by CAO Wendy Kay as to the common purpose of perpetual care funds.

In the end, MD council unanimously decided to inform the Town that the MD supports the columbarium project and related site development, and that the cemetery agreement vetween the Town and the MD be amended to include the use of the perpetual care fund for the project with costs to be replaced over time from the sale of inurnments.

Related link:
Fairview Cemetery columbarium project gets go-ahead from Pincher Creek Town Council

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