A new columbarium expected in July at Prince Rupert Fairview Cemetery will allow families to inter the ashes of their loved ones. While not all niches in the current structures are full, they are reserved creating a waiting list at City Hall. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

A new columbarium expected in July at Prince Rupert Fairview Cemetery will allow families to inter the ashes of their loved ones. While not all niches in the current structures are full, they are reserved creating a waiting list at City Hall. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Waiting list to inter ashes at Prince Rupert Fairview Cemetery

Prince Rupert resident said there has been a two-year wait for a niche in the columbarium

There are no interment spaces available in the columbariums at the Prince Rupert Fairview Cemetery and haven’t been for nigh on two years, Prince Rupert resident Jim Colussi, said.

Colussi, who just wants to complete his wife’s final wishes and put her to rest has been on a waiting list for columbarium space to intern her ashes since she passed away in Sept. 2020.

“When my wife was cremated, I didn’t know there wasn’t any room,” he said.

There are quite a few people in the same boat he said, and it is bringing them together. However, many people would be shocked to know there is no room currently available and hasn’t been any for ‘going on two years’.

It’s not that the columbarium is full, but many spaces have been reserved, so there is a backlog waiting for a new ossuary spot. Colussi believes that a new one should have been built when the previous one was half full to avoid the current waiting list situation.

He was told by the city that he could purchase a burial plot in which to place his wife’s ashes instead, however that was not an option for him, he said.

“I don’t think the city realizes, if the Will stipulates certain conditions, it can not be settled until all conditions are met,” Colussi told The Northern View. “So, people are left in a holding pattern.”

“It’s just not right. The cemetery is going downhill faster than it should,” he said.

Colussi said he has tried to address the situation with the city and has written two letters that have gone unanswered. He just wants a new columbarium built so he can close his loves’ estate.

“A new columbarium has been ordered,” Rosa Miller corporate administrator for the City of Prince Rupert stated, in an email to The Northern View. “We are awaiting installation and delivery which has been delayed to COVID-19.”

The previous columbariums were installed in 2011/2012 Miller said, with projections on annual need difficult to determine. The new ossuary will cost $32,000 prior to installation.

Miller said the installation for the new columbarium, pending any further setbacks, is planned for early July and will be able to hold more capacity with 48 niches. Each space can hold two interments totalling 96.

While there is a waiting list, she said, it would be inappropriate to comment on the specific number of people waiting.

“However, I can say that all currently on the waitlist will be accommodated,” Miller said.

K-J Millar | Journalist
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