Sandy Triplett, Boyd’s Funeral Service
We have two choices when planning our final disposition: burial or cremation.
Here on Northern Vancouver Island, well over 90% of the population chooses cremation. But what do you do with those cremated remains? Some families choose to keep a family urn in the home for many years, even decades, or opt for burial or niche interment in a sanctioned cemetery. But for many others, the decision is fraught with option overload.
We’ve all heard about reality TV shows depicting the myriad ways one can have a one-of-a-kind memorialization. Pimp My Funeral, or some other such nonsense, gives the impression that unless you want a wacky, slapstick affair, your choices are traditional or boring. Really, a meaningful scattering of cremated remains can pretty much be anything you want, provided a few simple guidelines are followed.
The most common misconceptions families have when considering the scattering of cremated remains is what is and is not “allowed.” Under BC law, a cremation is viewed as a final disposition. So once a cremation has taken place, the product of that cremation is of little concern to any regulatory body. You can pretty much do with those remains whatever you wish.
For burials on private property outside of a regulated cemetery, it’s a good idea to seek permission from the landowner before choosing that property as the final resting place for a family member. If you are the owner, consider the likelihood that you will always own the property. Many people create very personal and private memorials in their own gardens only to have to reconsider a location if they decide to move at any point in their lifetime.
If the land is public, feel free to bury or scatter at will, provided you are exercising discretion and taking into account your surroundings and the proximity of the general public (and the direction of the wind!). When burying urns on public property, it is generally expected that the urn will be biodegradable. Erosion has a nasty habit of, well, eroding over time. Before you know it, that brass urn has come back for another visit – usually at the expense of some hiker’s twisted ankle.
Many people think ocean or river scattering is prohibited by law. However, there are no restrictions on water committals in BC. Again, for environmental reasons, a biodegradable urn with a water-soluble bag is recommended. All cremated remains come in a standard plastic bag that is not designed to break down over time, so make your funeral director aware of your intentions so they can provide the appropriate packaging. You want to spend the moment remembering a loved one, not untangling plastic from your motor.
For other options or ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Boyd’s!
Sandy Poelvoorde is the owner of Boyd’s Funeral Services Ltd. She can be reached at 250.287.2240 or online at campbellriverfunerals.com.