Lethbridge City Council has approved increases to some of its cemetery fees.
The changes, which took effect on Feb. 4 include the costs for purchasing burial plots, columbarium niches and interment fees.
“We’ve made about a four per cent increase to the services that we offer,” said Cemetery Services manager Hiroshi Okabo on Thursday.
The increases will take place on an annual basis until 2021, with the costs staying unchanged the following year in 2022.
Among the increases, a single depth plot without a continuous foundation will cost $1,800 in 2019, increasing to $1,900 in 2020 and to $2,000 in 2021.
The city’s most affordable columbarium niches will go up in price from $2,270 this year to $2,430 in 2021.
Interment fees for a six-foot burial with full casket in 2019 come in at $1,000, increasing to $1,050 in 2020 and $1,080 in 2021.
“A lot of families aren’t considering closing the loop, so once they cremate someone, they’re not necessarily having to use a cemetery,” Okabo said.
“In the past, people used full caskets so they had to use the cemetery, [and] because they had to use the cemeteries we could keep the prices fairly stable, but now that we’re seeing a lot less people use the cemeteries the prices go up.”
One funeral home Global News spoke with now estimates two-thirds of families are opting for cremation when dealing with the death of a loved one, and of those, estimates just 40 per cent are utilizing cemeteries.
The city says if you wish to make one of its cemeteries your final resting place you can purchase your burial plot or columbarium niche in advance and avoid possible price increases in the future.
WATCH: City of Lethbridge to offer environmentally friendly burials (November 2018)
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.