New crematorium planned in Abbotsford

The Fraser River Community Crematorium Society purchased the building that formerly housed MSA Moving and Storage for $2.8 million

The site of Abbotsford's new crematorium.

The site of Abbotsford's new crematorium.

Abbotsford’s Indo-Canadian community is establishing a crematorium on Riverside Road.

The Fraser River Community Crematorium Society purchased the building that formerly housed MSA Moving and Storage at 2061 Riverside Rd. for $2.8 million, and will be giving the 16,000-square- foot building extensive renovations that will cost millions more.

The crematorium was a contentious issue in 2008, as a proposal to establish a 500-seat crematorium at Hazelwood Cemetery was voted down by council after much public debate.

Opponents did not feel it was appropriate for the city to donate two acres of cemetery land for the plan, citing a lack of cemetery space and the fact that the new crematorium would compete with private facilities.

Proponents said if the city donated land, they would raise $5 million to build the facilities. They pointed out that  Abbotsford’s Indo-Canadian population rose to almost 20 per cent in the 2006 census, and noted they have been tax-paying members of the community for a century.

Cremation is an important part of funeral ceremonies in the Sikh and Hindu religions, and large processions with hundreds of guests mean that local people from these faiths travel to other communities, often Surrey, for their services. Local private facilities and the crematorium in Mission cannot accommodate large crowds.

A crematorium at Hazelwood was part of the civic cemeteries master plan which was adopted by city council in 2007.

That same year, council gave the plan approval in principle, but voted it down in 2008 regardless.

Baljinder Bains, a member of the Fraser River Crematorium Society, was one of those addressing council in 2008. He said the new crematorium plan is the result of 10 years of work by organizers, and there were other groups tackling the issue even before that.

“It’s very important. The time when someone dies is a critical time.”

He said the group is happy with their new location. It offers 1.7 acres, and can provide adequate parking. The building will be large enough to house two assembly halls, allowing two simultaneous services of 550 people.

The new property has the correct zoning, meaning the crematorium committee will not have to seek council approval or go through public meetings.

The facilities will generally be used on weekends and long weekend statutory holidays.

The crematorium is a partnership of all of Abbotsford’s Sikh temples, the Abbotsford Hindu temple and the Mission Sikh temple, but Bains said the entire community will be invited to book it for funeral services.

The facility is expected to open as soon as summer 2012.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lifestyle Cafe, located on South Fraser Way, opened its doors earlier this month. It aims to provide Abbotsford diners with healthy eating options. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Lifestyle Cafe arrives in Abbotsford

New establishment on South Fraser Way offering healthy food options

The Abbotsford Community Foundation has a total of $160,000 available to award in 2021 through its Agricultural Enhancement Grants Program. (Submitted photo)
Applications now being accepted by Abbotsford Community Foundation for agricultural grants

Total of $160K available for projects that support agricultural innovation

Surrey native Dylan Kinley, shown here with the Douglas College Royals, has signed with the UFV Cascades. (Douglas Royals photo)
UFV Cascades sign Surrey native Dylan Kinley

Tweedsmuir grad, Douglas Royals star joins Abbotsford-based team for 2021-22

Construction has begun on the new Eagle Mountain elementary school in Abbotsford. (Screengrab from video by CHP Architects)
Construction begins on new Eagle Mountain elementary school in Abbotsford

School, including childcare spaces, is set to open in September 2022

Bill Hireen joined Remembrance Day celebrations in Abbotsford in 2019. The veteran and long-time civic supporter passed away on Dec. 31, 2020. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Long-time Abbotsford city council supporter dies of COVID-19

Bill Hireen was a frequent visitor to council and police board meetings

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms 1st death amid growing COVID-19 outbreak

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

Most Read