Strangers will be able to share grave sites under new Vancouver cemetery bylaw

Oct 28 2019, 3:45 pm

Owned and operated by the City of Vancouver since 1886, Mountain View Cemetery is Vancouver’s only cemetery, with grave spaces historically licensed for use by one person or family.

Now, a recent bylaw amendment to the operation of sites on the 106-acre plot of land located west of Fraser Street – between 31st Avenue and 43rd Avenue – means that grave sites can be shared between different families – or even total strangers.

In a release, the city said that while Mountain View Cemetery has always allowed the re-use of grave space, the amendments to the bylaw are meant to “expand this practice and support the cemetery in meeting future burial needs.”

With the new changes set to take effect on January 1, 2020, “an individual or family may acquire partial rights to a space with additional right(s) being licensed by the cemetery to another individual or family.”

Up until this point, the bylaw limited the number of caskets to two within a 40-year period.

The new bylaw also allows for the cemetery to determine new conditions and limits by which additional remains can be added to spaces within a shorter time frame.

The city said both of these changes “set Mountain View Cemetery apart from other cemeteries by considering the most efficient use of limited land resources while continuing to embrace the core components of sustainable burials.”

A spokesperson for the city clarified with Daily Hive that the new regulations do not mean strangers will physically be buried with one another but rather that “unrelated people can share a burial site/plot of land.”