Cemetery master plan approved by town council

Plans to expand Forest Home Cemetery are moving forward after Ponoka town council approved an Expansion Master Plan

An expanded view of the proposed Columbarium Expansion at the Forest Home Cemetery. Ponoka town council adopted the Forest Home Cemetery Expansion Master Plan Tuesday

An expanded view of the proposed Columbarium Expansion at the Forest Home Cemetery. Ponoka town council adopted the Forest Home Cemetery Expansion Master Plan Tuesday

Plans to expand Forest Home Cemetery are moving forward after Ponoka town council approved an Expansion Master Plan for the next 60 years.

Council approved the plan Tuesday, Feb. 24 to spend $96,000 for the first phase of the project. The 2015 capital budget estimated the cost at $125,000.

“It desperately needs improvement and expansion for the future,” explained Justin Caslor, engineer at the Town of Ponoka.

He said this master plan would help the usability of the cemetery and see improvements in different areas:

• The Field of Honour will be expanded north;

• An additional columbarium will be put in place with landscaping improvements;

• The directory shed will be moved and revitalization of the chapel completed;

• The main entrance sign will be upgraded;

• Concrete runs will be installed to allow for the possible expansion of 200 plots.

This first phase is expected to improve the area for the next 10 years. There are five phases in the master plan:

•Phase 2 starts in 2025 and will extend the cemetery north and more concrete will be installed to expand the plots.

• Phase 3, 2035, has potential to move west with new land. Roadwork, landscaping and a new sign would be part of the project.

• Phase, 4, 2055, work would continue north of Phase 3. There is potential to add another columbarium and landscaping.

• Phase 5, 2075, expansion on the northern most section of the cemetery will be the last phase of the project. Design work would be done as needed.

Caslor said he felt the project would bring overall benefit to the community and is under budget.

In 2014, there were 39 burials at the cemetery with 16 being on plots and 23 in the form of cremations.