Town continues Cemetery Bylaw amendment discussions

The Town of Strathmore passed second reading for bylaw 23-31 during the Oct. 18 regular meeting of council, though the bylaw remains divisive amongst members.

The bylaw is the town’s cemetery bylaw, which governs the operations, maintenance, and enforcement of the facility in conformance with the Cemetery Act.

Discussions regarding the bylaw were introduced to council, Oct. 11, during the committee of the whole meeting by Donna McCallum, operations manager for the Town of Strathmore.

At the time, she had informed council the last time the bylaw was discussed had been in 2019, and updating it would provide a host of improvements to the town’s operation of the cemetery.

According to administration, which was presented to council via their public agenda, there are challenges to administering all the activities required to manage the cemetery, as the current bylaw is not clear and has loopholes.

The amendments proposed within the bylaw include several definitions of terms outlined in in the document, as well as multiple policies.

Coun. Brent Wiley, after hearing McCallum address changes made to the proposed bylaw following the Committee of the Whole meeting, motioned for council to direct administration to once again bring the bylaw back to a future committee of the whole meeting.

“Graveyards are interesting places and then there is our bylaw, and I think what it is doing when it continues to rattle uniformity … that is boring, and so I think I am just philosophically opposed to the direction that this is taking,” he said.

Wiley’s motion was defeated by council following discussion in a vote of 5-1 against. First reading of the bylaw was passed in a vote of 5-1 in favour, with Wiley voting against.

Coun. Melissa Langmaid motioned for council to give second reading to Bylaw 23-31 as amended by administration.

The amendments mentioned through Langmaid’s motion came before council in the agenda and needed to be read into the record of the meeting, and were not amendments she proposed.

Following discussion, second reading was passed by council for second reading of the bylaw, following editorial amendments to the bylaw, making minor amendments to some of the policy language.

As per the Town of Strathmore’s policy, council was required to vote to give unanimous consent to have third and final reading for the bylaw in the same meeting at which the first two readings were read.

Unanimous consent to have third reading was not given, thus the bylaw will return to council for further discussion during the Nov. 1 regular meeting.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times