Dozens of Edmontonians gathered to protest a proposed location for a new crematorium in north-central Edmonton on Saturday.
The Trinity Funeral Home hopes to open a new location at 11406 119 Street. The building itself, which was purchased by the business in February, is across the street from houses.
“The last thing we need is smoke from a crematorium filtering into our neighbourhood,” said Gerald Young, who lives in the Prince Rupert community, where the building has been proposed.
“Something has to be done. Nobody is against the crematorium… We understand the need but not across from residential. This is not the place to put it.”
An application has been put forward to city council to change the zoning for the building from Medium Industrial Zone to Industrial Business Zone.
John Laureano, the president and co-owner of Trinity Funeral Home, said Saturday the business has been working to connect with residents, including participating in community league meetings via Zoom this week.
“We believe that there should be no reason for concern,” Laureano said. “Every crematorium is equipped with an afterburner. That afterburner is there to recombust any gasses that are a result of the burning process.
“That completely reduces the amount of emissions that would be coming out of the stack.”
‘Worried about our home values’
But residents say the concern over the health consequence remains, among others.
“I know their equipment they say is really good,” said Marilyn Dunkee. “But we’re concerned. We’re also worried about our home values because there’s not a lot of people who would want their home directly across from a crematorium.”
Ward 2 Coun. Bev Esslinger said that officials will be open to hearing both sides at the public hearing for the zoning decision on March 16.
“We’re looking forward to hearing from everybody and debating the various aspects of it,” Esslinger said. “We’re making our decision based on land use. Is this the best land use for this facility?”
She said she has also met with the area’s community league and understands their concerns.
“We’re all concerned right now, particularly about health, what’s in the air around us and how that may impact us,” she said. “We need to have a discussion about that, and I think that’s an important discussion.”
Laureano said that Trinity, which also operates three other facilities in the city — two of which offer cremation — is still hopeful to get the rezoning approved and move forward with the project.
“It is our intent to continue to place a crematorium in the building to better serve our families,” he said. “All we can do is leave it in the hands of the individuals who make the decisions.”