souris sign

A request to create a new cemetery within Souris town boundaries left council and municipal staff flummoxed over the best way to proceed.

The request comes from Lighthouse Baptist Church, which has operated in the town for 20 years. It wants to establish a small cemetery in the northeast corner of the church’s property on Lea Crane Drive. However, neither CAO Shelley LaVie nor provincial officials she contacted could remember the last time a new cemetery was created in a municipal area, making its potential development slightly fuzzy.

“It’s very unique. It’s the first new cemetery in quite some time,” Ms LaVie said, noting she raised the issue with several provincial departments.

The town’s development policy simply states that a cemetery cannot be created within the town’s well field zone. The church’s property abuts the zone, but is not within it.

Council has agreed to notify residents within 500 square metres of the request, which at this point is informal. The onus is on the church to supply a legal opinion as to why the request can be approved under existing provincial legislation.

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Winner of more than 50 regional, national, international awards for commentary and investigative journalism. Founder of The Georgetown Conference on building sustainable rural communities. Featured in A Good Day’s Work. Talking head for CBC Radio and TV.

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