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With pre-purchases of grave sites closed and only two graves remaining at Hillside Cemetery in Morden, Morden city Council has been working feverishly to find a solution.

Morden Mayor Brandon Burly says this has been a high priority for the council and there is some light on the horizon.

"We have a parcel identified that we're moving ahead with, we're still negotiating some pieces of the acquisition so we can't be specific of where it's going to be."

Burley says they are in the process of acquiring the right-of-way, adjacent land, and forming a cemetery development committee.

Currently, the committee comprises Joey Grenier of Wiebes Funeral Home, another member of the industry, and councillor Jim Hunt. Burly adds they are looking for two-three members of the public to become involved.

The committee would work alongside the city planner and landscapers, establishing a vision for the layout of the cemetery, features, and amenities. The commitment is short-term, with tentative plans for the cemetery's completion by the end of summer.

Having graves available to their residents is especially important says Burley not being able to offer final rest in the place beside their loved ones is something the city doesn't want to consider.

"The immediacy of the need was apparent to us; we had a situation arise which drove that home for us. People talk about projects taking a long time to complete with the government; this is one that can't."

A guarantee of 300 sites was given to the council, which at the current rate should last for 12 years, Burley says if they can acquire the adjacent parcel that number could be closer to 1,600.

Council has authorized councillor Hunt and Burly to find land for the new cemetery, and during an in-camera meeting in next Committee of the Whole, the council will approve any acquisitions it needs.

The new cemetery would be developed at cost, to help offset those costs, sites will be available for pre-purchase.

If residents are interested in being a part of the committee, they can contact City Hall or e-mail the mayor at [email protected]

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