Brothers Sean and Trevor Crean at the gate to Heritage Gardens in South Surrey. The cemetery recently achieved ‘green burial’ certification. (File photo)

South Surrey cemetery earns Green Burial status

Option offers ‘a very simple, very pure return’

The latest buzz at Surrey’s newest cemetery is its green certification – and, thousands of honeybees.

Heritage Gardens’ Trevor Crean said the distinction by the Green Burial Society of Canada was achieved in early May, and is a first in Metro Vancouver.

“It’s kind of given us the credibility that, yeah, we’re on the right track,” Crean said last week, describing the green-burial option as among initiatives at the South Surrey cemetery that are going to “be really what defines us in terms of setting us aside from the status quo.”

Beehives were also new to the 8.5-acre property in May, and Crean expects the first honey harvest to take place in September.

“We’ve let about a third of our property grow into a pollinating meadow,” he noted.

The family-owned, co-operative cemetery opened last fall in the 19000-block of 16 Avenue. It includes gardens for faith groups, an ossuary and the ability to place up to 10 family members in one plot – using a configuration of two caskets and up to eight cremated remains.

READ MORE: New South Surrey cemetery ‘aims to keep families together’

READ MORE: New cemetery could be ‘time capsule’ of community, owner says

Crean said as a whole, the intent of the model is to create a place where people want to return to – something which is not typical of cemeteries.

“The cemetery, the old model of it is kind of a sombre thing, it’s not a place that people want to be,” he said.

“You don’t have a choice when you’ve lost somebody, so we wanted to be a place that people want to come back and reflect, and have celebrations or celebrate milestones of birthdays, anniversaries of losing a loved one – feel comfortable coming out for a picnic and checking in on what we’re up to out there, maybe get a jar of honey along the way.

“We just wanted to be so much more inclusive rather than that kind of traditional transaction.”

The green option, he said, is getting engagement, as families mull how they want to return to the earth, as inside a cement vault, with no connection to the environment, is no longer the only choice.

The certification process was “rigorous,” Crean added, noting “very strict” criteria includes no chemical preparation of the body and “absolutely” no cremation. As well, any clothing worn by the decedent must be biodegradable.

“Basically, you can’t get buried with your Nikes. It’s all a very simple, very pure return.”

The first ‘green garden’ is about 200 spaces, with room for more if it proves a popular choice. So far, it’s just over 10 per cent reserved.

Noting cemetery space is in short supply, Crean said there is a need for sustainable alternatives to single-use plots.

He envisions his own remains going in the corner near the beehives, however, there’s “no rush,” he said.

Crean added that the honey aspect is not planned for revenue-generation, but as a gesture for families visiting a loved one lost.

“It’s just one little thing we can do… sweeten the time for folks. I just think there’s so much room for cemeteries to up our contribution to community.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peace Arch Elementary playground upgrade a go

White Rock Rotary fundraising contributes last piece for completing project

Telethon promotes Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID response funding

Entrepreneur Manjit Lit gifts Surrey Hospital Foundation, challenges others to join him

Surrey’s Johnston Heights reporting COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

White Rock shoots down mandatory mask motion

Coun. Scott Kristjanson asked city to prepare report on mandatory masks on public spaces

Stanley Cup win for Surrey-based NHL scout who coached in North Delta

Grant Armstrong is among 11 WHL alumni currently with Tampa Bay Lightning

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

‘Alien invasion’: Strange webbing creeps in overnight in Agassiz,Harrison

Eerie webbing might be the result of a growth in moth population

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Most Read