Town defers Cemetery Bylaw discussions until May 2024

Town of Strathmore Council has voted to differ further discussions regarding potential amendments to the Cemetery Bylaw until May 2024.

During the Nov. 1 regular meeting of council, Coun. Denise Peterson motioned to differ the discussion to allow for more time to consider feedback from the community, as well as for council to consider the amendments.

Administration had recommended that council give third and final reading to the bylaw during the meeting.

Second reading for Bylaw 23-31, being the cemetery bylaw, was passed during the Oct. 18 regular meeting of council, though the matter remained divisive, and third reading was not granted unanimous consent to be had at that time.

The cemetery bylaw governs the operations, maintenance and enforcement of the facility in conformance with the Cemetery Act.

Discussions were initially introduced to council during the Oct. 11 Committee of the Whole meeting, presented by Donna McCallum, operations manager for the Town of Strathmore.

During the Nov. 1 regular meeting of council, members of the public were allowed to speak to council regarding their concerns over the amendments to the cemetery bylaw.

“Differing this bylaw gives time for council to consider and reconsider all of these ideas that have been brought forward and give them the fullness of the attention that they deserve,” said Peterson. “It also allows time for the persons who ventured into this room tonight to explore some of the excellent ideas that they may be able to incorporate into some future rendition of a bylaw.”

Peterson specified she motioned to differ the discussion until May to account for town staff’s time and not rushing them prior to the drafted bylaw being brought back before council.

Coun. Brent Wiley also spoke in favour of differing the discussion, speaking to his belief in the importance of being able to adequately consider community feedback.

“A Committee of the Whole meeting is where council gets together and we have time to go through the bylaw, to really consider everything that we have heard tonight, to go through the different amendments that some of us councillors might be bringing forward, to try and balance things out, (and) to debate,” he said. “A Committee of the Whole meeting is not a vote, so we will not even be under the pressure to make a decision that night; we will be able to take it all in, and then the vote would happen at a later date.”

Peterson’s motion was passed unanimously by council following discussion.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times