Residents voice opposition to proposed crematorium in Prince Rupert neighbourhood, council yet to vote on rezoning

Article content

Residents from a central Edmonton neighbourhood are fighting back against a proposed crematorium across the street from nearby homeowners.

About 25 people addressed city council Tuesday in opposition to a rezoning application that would allow Trinity Funeral Home to operate a crematorium in a Prince Rupert industrial building at 119 Street and 114 Avenue. Council was still debating the proposed development and hadn’t voted as of press time.

Homeowners argued for the city to impose a required separation distance between homes and crematoriums because of health and odour concerns with gas emissions from the cremation process. Residents said the site is only 40 metres away from the nearest residential properties across the street.

Area resident Carrie Anton said the proposed location is too close to homes and the community hasn’t been given assurances on how odour and air quality will be monitored and what enforcement action would be taken if there are complaints.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“What happens is there’s this passing the buck approach,” she said on trying to figure out what regulatory body holds crematoriums accountable. “It’s very difficult to get to who is responsible for this problem.”

The Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board (AFSRB) is responsible for the annual licensing of crematoriums under the provincial Cemeteries Act, but executive director Karen Carruthers said the board doesn’t have the jurisdiction to monitor air quality or emissions.

“The AFSRB is required to inspect crematories including maintenance records and the crematory register at least once every three years,” Carruthers said in a statement to Postmedia. “We accept complaints regarding crematories. We do not restrict the type of complaint that our investigator will look into, however the AFSRB does not have the jurisdiction to monitor air quality or emissions, which may limit the extent of the response that is provided to the complainant.”

Janice Agrios, legal counsel for Trinity Funeral Home, said licence renewal is required annually and the provincial act states they must be maintained in good order and not create a public health nuisance. There are also substance release regulations set by the province to ensure emission standards are met. The specific equipment used by Trinity Funeral Home has been studied previously with the emissions recorded coming in at 17 per cent of Alberta’s regulations, Agrios said.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

There isn’t ongoing monitoring of emissions due to the typical low-impact nature, but Agrios said the province does have the authority to issue orders related to public health or emission standards.

City senior planner Laurie Moulton said the city is in support of the application because it is in alignment with the City Plan and supports the industrial nature of the area. The current zoning of the site allows for more intensive industrial uses than the one being proposed, Moulton said, because it allows for outdoor manufacturing operations or storage.

“There are approximately 15 crematoriums located in various locations throughout the city,” she said. “They have operated successfully for decades without issue due to the low-impact nature. This includes locations in the heart of Oliver and Downtown, adjacent to thousands of residents and within the city’s most populated neighbourhoods.”

If council approves the rezoning, the applicant would still need to acquire a development permit from the city in order to operate a crematorium as a discretionary use on the site.

duscook@postmedia.com

twitter.com/dustin_cook3

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Latest articles

Related articles