The columbarium – a structure used to store urns that hold cremated remains – was donated to the village by the Pouce Coupe Community Foundation, a group of local volunteers who undertake projects for the betterment of their community. Larry Fynn, president of the foundation and a sitting village councillor, said the project will leave a lasting legacy for the village and its residents.
“It’s nice to see some of these things come to fruition that will leave some history. It’s a great project,” he said.
The columbarium is designed with 120 niches that can hold up to two urns each, for a total capacity to store 240 urns. Fynn said the doors of each niche can be engraved with the names of the deceased, and there is also room on the side of the structure to include engraved plaques.
The interior shell of the structure is built from aircraft aluminum, and then finished with granite and marble on the top and bottom, so he said the structure will be durable and will require very little maintenance.
He said it was his late colleague, councillor Peter Kut, who originally came up with idea for a columbarium before he passed away earlier this year, and the foundation continued on with the project with the intention of gifting it back to the village. Fittingly, the foundation has offered Kut’s family the first choice of a niche.
The structure cost about $50,000 to build was paid for by proceeds from the Canada Day barbeque at Pouce Park and other fundraisers, said Fynn. He said they are still working to secure the necessary permits, but the columbarium will begin accepting remains early next month, and there are already about six families interested in purchasing a niche.
Each niche will sell for about $900 and the money raised will go into a fund that will be set aside for the construction of new columbariums as needed, so that the legacy of the project will be perpetual, said Fynn.
He said the columbarium makes sense from the viewpoint of efficiency as well, as space is limited at the cemetery to add many more gravesites. He said cremation appears to be a growing preference as well to preserve the remains of loved ones.
“It will save us having to expand the graveyard I expect, in the immediate future, anyway,” he said.
He said anyone interested in purchasing a niche can make arrangements through the Village Office, or through the funeral home they are dealing with.