Vernon’s Pleasant Valley Cemetery is not dead yet.
According to the city’s draft cemetery master plan, the facility has approximately 30 years of capacity remaining.
So, for the time being, the city will not need to develop the new cemetery at the proposed site of 700 Mission Road in the Commonage.
“The city should continue to monitor the casket lot inventory at Pleasant Valley Cemetery, and begin the development of a new site within five-to-10 years of the existing site reaching capacity,” wrote city parks and public spaces manager Kendra Kryszak in a report to council.
Statistics released in the plan show over the past five years, Vernon’s death rate averaged 13 per 1,000 residents, or about 520 deaths per year. Of those who died, 87 per cent chose cremation and 13 per cent chose casket burial (27 per cent who chose cremation had their ashes interred at the cemetery, and 93 per cent of those who chose burial are buried in the cemetery).
Over the next 25 years, there is a projected 15,400 deaths in Vernon, resulting in 13,800 cremations and 1,600 casket burials.
The cemetery operates at a loss, requiring the city to subsidize its operations with municipal revenue from other sources.
Within the plan, there are number of capital projects identified and prioritized, with the estimated cost to complete the works being $1.4 million to be phased over the next three years.
Proposed work includes improvement to the cemetery entry and Maple Avenue, a feature cremation garden, casket and cremation burial enhancements, a columbaria terrace, tree plantings and historical/interpretative signage.
The city owns the cemetery which is operated by contractors. The current site is Vernon’s second burial ground, established in 1902. The original Pioneer Park Cemetery is located on 35th Avenue west of Alexis Park Drive and is currently used as a neighbourhood green space.
Pleasant Valley Cemetery is 30 acres in size and includes a hillside to the east, large native pine trees scattered throughout the site, carved stone grave markers, significant memorials family lots, stone front entrance gate and tree-lined entry drive.