The once common method of burying full caskets in-ground plots has decreased in recent years, and Prince George is embracing the alternatives.
Updates to Prince George’s Memorial Park Cemetery could see a new alternative and environmentally friendly burial option called 'green burial.'
That’s where a body is returned to the earth to decompose naturally and is prepared without embalming and even buried in a biodegradable container or shroud.
City council received a report at their Jan. 4 meeting, providing an update on Memorial Park Cemetery for 2019, which outlined a proposed green burial section of the cemetery.
The green burial area will be located in the far south portion of the cemetery and include 25 plots offering full burial, cremation plots and a scattering garden area.
Within the proposed green burial section, there will be a communal memorial built from stone with room for a simple inscription to record the names of the persons buried in the area.
Green burial is called “green” burial because of its purported ecological benefits. These include:
- elimination of contaminants released into soil, air and water,
- restoration of area over time to return visually and functionally to the surrounding landscape,
- habitat enhancement through the use of indigenous plant species
- and elimination of pesticides and herbicides used in conventional landscape settings.
Preparation for the green burial section began back in 2018, with staff clearing the underbrush and levelling the landscape.
Surveying for the proposed 25 plots is expected to begin in spring 2019 and the new site will be accessible through an existing forested walkway.
However, the green burial area will come back to city council’s consideration as the Cemetery Bylaw No. 8046 already has an article pertaining to Green Burials (Sec. 17) but the language is from 2008 and needs an update to meet 2019 industry standards.