2010-09-29 “Cemetery Meeting Part II”

Here are some basic facts about cemeteries:  the Municipality of Chatham Kent oversees a number of cemeteries including Evergreen Cemetery, Greenwood Cemetery, Maple Leaf Cemetery, Dresden Cemetery and Riverview Cemetery.  There are also fifty non-municipally operated cemeteries in Chatham-Kent. 

The Cemeteries Act requires that any abandoned cemetery operation must be assumed by the municipal authority and care and maintenance also becomes the responsibility of that municipal authority.  Since the municipal amalgamation in 1998 the Municipality of Chatham-Kent has assumed responsibility for 65 cemeteries, the most recent being Sherman Cemetery in Thamesville.   

Private cemeteries are overseen by members of a board.  While regulations remain consistent between municipally operated cemeteries, they vary between private cemeteries.  One regulation consistent between all cemeteries is that in any grave you can inter one casket plus two cremation containers or if there is no intent for a full (casket) interment then you can inter at least four cremation containers.  While fee structures remain consistent between municipally operated cemeteries, they vary and are generally less in private cemeteries.

Because the Municipality works within the parameters of a collective agreement with its employees, it is necessary to pay overtime under certain conditions.  That part of the cemetery operations is not new; rather what I wrote about last week regarding extra interment charges reflects a return to the way that overtime was charged years ago…instead of relying on tax dollars to cover the overtime cost, it will be an at-need charge.  Years ago it was not uncommon to have a Funeral Service on a Saturday, Sunday or Holiday and then the immediate family would attend the interment on the next business day…and often they would find that time alone was even more meaningful.  If meeting at the cemetery another day is not an option, then the first option will be to pay the overtime charges and inter on a Saturday or Holiday.  Just remember that in a world of probabilities there is a greater chance that you will not have to make this decision and also that at this point overtime applies to Municipal Cemeteries.