Abbotsford residents will soon have more options regarding their final resting place.
City council recently approved a $500,000 contract with St ro h m a i e r's Excavating Ltd. to build an interment garden at Hazelwood Cemetery for cremated remains.
The addition will provide up to 2,190 new interments at the cemetery, and extend its life by at least 30 years, said Rick Daykin, director of parks services.
"By going up instead of down, we're going to extend the life of the cemetery," he said. With 60 to 70 per cent of people in the Fraser Valley now choosing cremation, it made sense for Abbotsford to offer more choices, he added.
New burial options at Hazelwood will include columbaria niches, a scatter garden, ossuaries, and inground cremation vaults.
Columbaria are secured shelves in walls, each of which can hold one or two urns, and are marked with a plaque. The cost begins at $2,500, plus $275 to open and seal the space. In-ground plots for urns start at $3,500.
An ossuary is an underground receptacle that holds the ashes of up to 150 individuals. The $360 cost for this includes a name plaque on a memory board.
For the same price, a person's ashes can be dispersed in a scatter garden. A memory board plaque is also included.
Another $100,000 was set aside for the internment garden design, and groundwork that includes flowering cherry trees, other trees, shrubs and flowers.
The parks department, which oversees the city cemeteries, hopes to make Hazelwood more inviting to the public.
"It's to make it look more like a park. We've got the Discovery Trail going through Hazelwood now," Daykin said.
Burial revenues will go to a perpetual care fund, while the interest of the fund will pay for cemetery improvements and upkeep.
In the future, the city hopes to add a reception building and an on-site clerk to deal with clients, along with headstones and other internment options, said Daykin.
Abbotsford was able to move ahead with the cremation garden after updating its burial plot rates by 100 per cent in 2008, he said.
Despite the increase, Abbotsford burial rates remain "in the middle of the price range" compared to other Lower Mainland communities, he added.
There are no plans to add cremation internment options at the city's other cemeteries, at Mount Lehman, Musselwhite or Aberdeen.
The work at Hazelwood Cemetery is expected to be done by Christmas.