Columbariums offer alternatives for families

The price of a plot will increase in 2021

This submitted photo shows the new columarium at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Melfort.

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Julia Peterson

Visitors to Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Melfort will have noticed the arrival of a new structure on the grounds last month.

In a joint venture, the City of Melfort and Fedusiak Funeral Chapel and Crematorium recently installed a third columbarium to accommodate more urns and offer families a new place to pay their respects on the cemetery grounds.

This columbarium, which has 72 niches, arrives as the second columbarium is nearly full. A columbarium niche can house either one or two urns, and comes with granite doors that can be lettered and personalized

According to newly-elected mayor Glenn George, construction of the new columbarium was an urgent and practical decision.

“The other ones were over 80 per cent full,” he said. “It was time.”

Darren Fedusiak, the owner of Fedusiak Funeral Chapel, has noticed more and more interest in columbarium niches as part of funeral planning in recent years.

“Cremation is becoming more popular and people are looking for different alternatives to memorialize a person,” he said. “And so, rather than interring the urn into a grave and then getting a larger headstone, they’re using the columbarium, which can end up being less expensive than purchasing a plot.

“And the columbarium is a space for families to come and visit and pay their respects, just like going out to see a headstone.”

However, while a columbarium niche may be a less expensive option, Melfort’s cemetery fees will be rising in the New Year.

Purchasing a niche in the new columbarium will cost $1850, compared to the previous rate of $1500. The City will receive $400 for each niche sold.

A full-size lot will cost $900, plus a charge ranging from $700 to $825 for opening and closing the grave, as well as a perpetual care fee.

“In this day and age, nothing stays the same – prices go up,” George said. “So we increased our prices.”

For families engaged in death and funeral planning, Fedusiak has found the columbarium can be a more straightforward option for some.

“One thing with the columbarium is that, once one is purchased, there are no other costs for opening and closing the door for an internment,” he said. “The only other cost is for the lettering of it.”

The City and the funeral home are already planning future columbariums at the cemetery – at last week’s city council meeting, plans for constructing a fourth structure within the next decade, or when this one is nearly full, were discussed.

And Fedusiak would encourage Melfort residents to take this opportunity to think about their own personal future planning as well – if you know you would like yourself or a loved one to be interred in a columbarium niche or a lot, it can be helpful to have those logistics settled in advance.

“You can stop by the funeral home and talk about what different options would be,” Fedusiak said. “It’s good to be proactive and talk about things before someone needs the services quickly. And you can think clearly and make better choices when you have some time.”

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