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Veterinarians propose building pet crematorium in Salmon Arm, offering urns

Local artisans would be sought who could create urns, jewelry or keepsakes for saving ashes
Owners of a 10-hectare parcel at 5491 10th Ave. NE, just east of Highway 1 near Canoe, would like the Agricultural Land Commission’s permission for non-farm use in the Agricultural Land Reserve, in order to demolish the original farm house and construct another building to house a pet crematorium. (City of Salmon Arm image)

A Salmon Arm couple wants to ask the Agricultural Land Commission for permission to have a non-farm use – a pet crematorium – on their parcel of land.

Located at 5491 10th Ave. NE, just east of Highway 1 towards Canoe, the approximate 10-hectare (25-acre) property on the Agricultural Land Reserve is owned by Lennie and Joseph Thurgood, both veterinarians.

At council’s March 20 development and planning services meeting, planning staff explained that the owners would like to demolish the existing building, the original farmhouse, which was decommissioned and another house was constructed in 2013. They would replace it with a new building which would house a rural detached dwelling less than 968 square feet or 90 square metres and a pet crematorium which would be less than 1076 sq.ft. or 100 square meters.

Both the proposed second dwelling and the pet crematorium are permitted uses under the city’s zoning. A letter from the manufacturer confirmed the unit would not produce smoke or odour and would not be a nuisance to existing properties.

Following cremation the animal remains would be returned to the owners and the operation would not include any on site disposal. The city’s agricultural advisory committee lent its approval to the request.

If the application is supported by the ALC, the applicant would then apply for a building permit from the city and ensure compliance with zoning regulations. No public hearing would be required.

Lennie Thurgood addressed council, stating that she and her husband have lived and worked in the area for nearly 20 years and have raised their family here.

As veterinarians, they have become aware of a gap in services in the area. There is no local crematorium for pets. Any of the pets who go for cremation go to Oyama, which serves a large area, she said. There is a smaller crematorium in Armstrong currently for sale.

“With our profession I feel that we are uniquely capable in doing this as we are quite aware of the end-of-life procedure, and just that value and meaning to the pet owners to have those remains handled in a careful and loving and considerate manner.”

Offering the service in Salmon Arm would decrease the carbon footprint as well as make it a more intimate local service, she said. The crematorium would search out local artisans to help in making things like urns, or jewelry or keepsakes where the ashes of those pets could be saved.

Harrison asked if there would be a service involved. She said typically no. He said he asked because he drove down the driveway which is quite narrow with not much room for traffic or intersecting cars. Thurgood said she thinks it will work as the crematorium will generally pick up the remains from the veterinarians.

Harrison added that council usually recommends applicants inform the neighbours of their plans. Although there won’t be a public hearing, comments can be submitted to the ALC.

The request will come to the March 27 council meeting to be authorized for submission to the ALC.

This story has been revised from its original version.

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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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