Cold Lake council allocates funding for cemeteries

funding private entities.

During the April 9 meeting, CAO Kevin Nagoya addressed the issue, stating, “Right now we don't have budget funding that was allocated in this regard. The community capital was there. I can confirm that the group has recently [completed] the community capital grant application."

He highlighted the pressing need for concrete work for headstones and curbs, estimating it to cost approximately $70,000. Nagoya emphasized the immediacy of the needs and proposed council's consideration of providing seed funding to facilitate progress.

Coun. Chris Vining echoed Nagoya's sentiments while also expressing reservations about deviating from budgetary decisions made earlier.

“I think, where I'm at right now is, we made a decision back at budget to hold off on this one," said Vining. He advocated for establishing clear structures regarding funding private cemeteries, raising concerns about setting a precedence and managing ratepayer expectations.

Responding to Vining's concerns, Coun. Vicky Lefebvre countered, “In regard to cracking the door open, that door's been cracked for two years, so I wouldn't worry about that."

Lefebvre stressed the precedence set by previous decisions and underscored the importance of maintaining aesthetically pleasing cemeteries, acknowledging the efforts of local parishioners in upkeep. She expressed support for Nagoya's recommendation, stating council's prerogative is to act in the community's best interest.

But not all council members agreed. Coun. Ryan Bailey and Vining opposed a motion that was made to allocate $70,000 to the cemeteries, indicating a divergence in opinion among the council.

Lefebvre was the one to put the motion forward, prompting the final round of voting. The motion was met with approval from most council members, signaling a decision to provide financial assistance to the cemeteries.

Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lakeland This Week