Wawa Council Moves Forward on Cemetery By-Law Update

Wawa's cemetery by-law is another step closer to being updated.

In their Corporate Planning Committee last night, the outgoing Wawa Municipal Council - absent Mayor Ron Rody and Councillor Sandra Weitzel - went over a revised version of the updated by-law which had been presented to Council last month.

The revisions were meant to address concerns raised by Council last month, and include language allowing headstones with room for one or more urn of cremated remains, with the director of Infrastructure's approval on the design.

That would be in addition to four cremated remains already allowed on a plot - placed on a coffin.

It does not include a ban on beverages which was included in the version presented in October - Councillor Julia Rowe had suggested water or coffee might be reasonable - and it does not ban dogs from the property, though they must be leashed and owners must clean up after them.

While that's consistent with the previous by-law, concerns were raised that owners may not clean up after their dogs or that the animals could be generally disrespectful - such as urinating on headstones - though Rowe argued pets can be an important part of the grieving process, and Councillor Pat Tait with Rowe that people were likely to bring their pet, whether or not it was banned.

Infrastructure Services Director Cory Stainthorpe suggested more steps will be involved before it goes to a vote, expecting opportunities for public input as the municipality seeks approval from the Bereavement Authority of Ontario before approving the updated by-law - and he suggests changes may come from that input.

As for the need to update the by-law, Stainthorpe emphasizes the previous one is actually outdated and not in compliance with other regulations.