No off-site works for new morgue: PoCo committee

Port Coquitlam committee of council votes down a requirement for off-site works and services by the Burquitlam Funeral Home.

A long-running Coquitlam funeral home will have its morgue in Port Coquitlam when it moves its headquarters next year.

Burquitlam Funeral Home plans to relocate from its current North Road site to a property on Brunette Avenue, where the Boone County Country Cabaret used to be.

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Its Coquitlam bid is still in the works; however, last week, PoCo’s committee of council recommended the business’ zoning bylaw change request to allow embalming services at the new morgue, at 2645 Kingsway Ave.

That application is set go to council for consideration next week.

Laura Lee Richard, PoCo’s director of planning and development services, told the committee last Tuesday the business has already installed a new sprinkler system in the vacant industrial building, which is located next to the CP Rail tracks and Maple Creek.

And, under the city’s subdivision servicing bylaw, off-site works and services are also required to improve Kingsway Avenue and replace a sidewalk letdown.

But Coun. Glenn Pollock said that provision will cost the business thousands of dollars more as it’s also has to install fencing, remove invasive species and add more plants to protect the watercourse.

“I think this is ridiculous,” said Pollock as he successfully called for an amendment to the motion to scrub the off-site works and services requirement.

Coun. Steve Darling said council has to be mindful “not to drive business out” of PoCo while Coun. Dean Washington added council needs to make strides to make the city “affordable” for companies: His own business, RPM Media, is sited a block away on Kingsway Avenue and faced a 20% hike in property taxes this year, Washington told the committee.

Still, Coun. Darrell Penner opposed Pollock’s motion amendment, saying council shouldn’t diverge from city legislation. And if businesses don’t pay for infrastructure upgrades, “down the road the taxpayers pay for it,” he said.

Today (Tuesday), Burquitlam Funeral Home owner Rob McCormack told The Tri-City News the morgue won’t be open to the public for memorials, funerals or gatherings; however, it will allow the business to prepare, embalm and store remains at the same site.

Burquitlam Funeral Home was established by the McCormack family in 1964.

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