New West to eliminate interment fees for children

New Westminster is eliminating interment fees for children and infants for local residents.

Council recently received a report regarding proposed changes to various user fees and rates. One of the staff recommendations was that adult/child/infant casket and cremation interment fees be increased by 15 per cent to bring them in line with other municipalities.

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“Our interment fees are currently $575. What we are proposing is moving it up to $660, which is in line with all other municipalities,” said Dave Cole, the city’s manager of engineering operations. “There are no other municipalities locally that offer interments at no charge for child and infant. That said, we haven’t done a child or infant interment in five years.”

The idea of charging interment fees for children and infants didn’t sit well with Coun. Mary Trentadue.

“I would like to remove infant casket and cremation interment fees for residents and have that completely removed from this bylaw,” she said.

In addition to approving the proposed user fees and rates in principle, council unanimously supported Trentadue’s motion to eliminate interment fees for children and infants.

Cole said the city’s bylaw identifies children or infants as those who are 13 years and under.

The staff review of rates and fees resulted in recommendations in fee changes in various departments, including engineering services, development services, cultural services and the electric utility.

Trentadue also voiced concern about resident permit parking.

A report to council stated staff had reviewed rates in other municipalities and were recommending a restructuring of parking permit fees to have rates for two permits, three permits, and fourth and fifth permits. Staff also recommended the addition of a climate emergency surcharge of 10 per cent on all parking permits, except for shared vehicle parking permits, which would go toward a climate action reserve that would fund energy-efficient initiatives in the city.

Allowing five permits for vehicles is contrary to the direction the city is moving in terms of the climate emergency, Trentadue said.

“It appears to me that we are allowing the possibility of a resident to have five permits for vehicles, per residence, and if there are two residential properties in one home they are allowed 10. I just think that’s a bit much,” she said. “I would actually like to reduce that.”

Staff will review the issue and report back to council.

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