Fort Langley Cemetery was created as a local community burial plot in 1881, and is one of the oldest cemeteries in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)

Fort Langley Cemetery was created as a local community burial plot in 1881, and is one of the oldest cemeteries in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)

Council mulls allowing mausoleum in old Fort Langley cemetery

Councillors had some concerns about the possibility of a new way to inter families

Langley Township council didn’t rule out adding a mausoleum to the Fort Langley Cemetery, but is seeking more information before saying yes or no.

At the Oct. 23 council meeting, council considered a request by a local family to convert their eight burial plots into a mausoleum, to hold the same number of internments. The family asked that their name be kept private.

“This is a first, I believe, in the Township of Langley,” said Mayor Jack Froese

Right now, local bylaws don’t allow for mausoleums, so a decision on this request could set a precedent for the community’s other cemeteries.

“We’re not looking at this as a simple one-off,” said Mark Bakken, the Township’s administrator.

If council says yes, it could be the catalyst for a new policy for cemeteries.

The family that owns the plots has offered to pay for all the construction and ongoing maintenance costs, so there wouldn’t be a financial cost to the municipally-owned cemetery. But councillors still had questions.

“Are they a more efficient use of space?” asked Froese.

“For the most part, they’re not a more efficient use of space,” said Ramin Seifi, the Township’s manager of community development and engineering.

But Councillor Bob Long noted that it wasn’t using up more than the eight plots the family already owned, either.

“We’re not losing any ground,” Long said.

“I have some major reservations around this, because it’s a new precedent, it’s in a public cemetery, we don’t know what the siting is going to be,” said Coun. Kim Richter.

She also noted that a better site might be a new cemetery being established in Aldergrove, which was approved by the council earlier this year.

“I wouldn’t want to endorse anything that would create any upset,” said Coun. Petrina Arnason, who worried a mausoleum might not fit into the design of the existing cemetery.

At Richter’s urging, council unanimously voted for a full report from staff on the matter before making a decision.

She also noted that she’s heard there may be another issue at the Fort cemetery: bones shifting in the earth.

“It means that you can’t put caskets in the ground anymore,” she said.

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