St-Bruno residents fight plans for crematorium near their homes
MONTREAL -- A funeral home's plan to expand into St-Bruno on the South Shore of Montreal is encountering strong resistance.
At issue is a crematorium, which residents on Parent St. claim will be built too close to their houses.
"We're very concerned about that, because cremation is an industrial process. It's burning a body into ashes. That's industrial," said local resident Gaetan Poirier.
Poirier said he's concerned the project will bring traffic and pollution to the area and affect the value of their homes.
His neighbour, Anna-Maria Blight, has collected hundreds of signatures against it.
"There had been no talks about it at all, when everything that happens in St-Bruno, we hear about it in the paper or the internet," she said.
When the homeowners brought the matter to city hall, they were told that it was too late to stop it.
The land purchased by the Coopérative funéraire du Grand Montréal was zoned commercial and is next to a gas station. The transaction required no further permits.
"This is not socially acceptable. (It is) less than 25 metres from my neighbours' backyard, but this is what they're going to be looking at day in, day out. This is so unfair to them," said Blight.
The current Coopérative funéraire du Grand Montréal is in Longueuil, but needs to move a larger facility.
About six bodies are cremated daily at the funeral home. The company said it is required to follow strict provincial environmental standards when cremating bodies, using a two-step process to reduce pollution.
"The first step is for the body, and a second for the remaining particles," explained the funeral home's director of operations, Mathieu Houle. "The high temperature keeps everything clear."
Still, it remains a tough sell in St-Bruno.
"A neighbour cannot have a fire in his backyard, but here we're going to burn people day after day after day?" said Poirier.
The town of St-Bruno isn't commenting before its next council meeting on Monday, where many residents are expected to demand answers.