District of Squamish is planning to expand the Mount Garibaldi cemetery in the forested areas in three phases. The cemetery, located at 44500 Government Road, is 4.77 hectares and one-third of this site is developed while the remainder is forested.
Phase 1, which is expected to begin in 2024, will include improvements to the existing cemetery site including a paved access and parking, a refurbished historic gate. There are also plans to add a new feature, a fence and a scattering garden as an interment option.
Phase 2 of the plan, which begins in 2025, will include the first expansion into forested area and is expected to cost $1,350,000. It would entail removing trees, excavate burial plots for green burial, new roads, pathways and seating area, and a scattering site. A maintenance yard and optional washrooms may also be considered.
The last and final phase would include a second expansion into the forested area.
This expansion would cost $600,000 and include clearing trees, excavating burial plots, and extending pathways. The Mount Garibaldi Cemetery on Government Road is approaching capacity for burial services and the staff has been working on plans to expand the cemetery for the last few years. These plans also include increasing internment fees, which are quite low compared to other cemeteries in the Lower Mainland, says a District report.
A 75% increase in right of interment fees for residents and 75% increase in interment fees for residents and non-residents is proposed to eliminate the District’s subsidy of operating costs within 10 years, which was supported by council at a Committee of the Whole meeting.
The District also plans to incorporate green burial and scattering garden interment options, which has less environmental impact than other forms of interment. “There is no chemical embalming, nor casket and concrete vault/ liner such as with typical burial. Green burial plots can allow the forest to naturalize on the surface, which may reduce on-going maintenance needs,” notes the District.
Squamish currently offers full burial and cremation inground plots. Squamish Funeral Chapel (SFC) offers columbarium niches for cremains and memorial book inscriptions located within the cemetery as per a 2004 license agreement between SFC and the District. As part of the cemetery improvements, green burial and scattering are proposed as new interment options.