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Sunday January 11th, 2015

Posted at 10:00am

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Fairbairn Cemetery, located at 4297 Baseline Road as seen on Google Streetview

The City of Windsor could be getting into the cemetery business.

Fairbairn Cemetery, located at 4297 Baseline Road, was donated to the Township of Sandwich South in 1900.  In 1998 the township was amalgamated to the Town of Tecumseh and in 2003 6,300 acres of the Town of Tecumseh was transferred to the City of Windsor, which included the cemetery.

The cemetery sits on 2 acres and has 930 plots.  335 of those have been sold, and of that 140 are occupied to date and the remaining 195 have been paid for.

Since 1984 two local residents have maintained the cemetery and are listed as the operators of it.  Last year, the residents contacted Councilor Payne and indicated they will no longer maintain it after December 2014.  Once they cease their maintenance duties the cemetery is considered then abandoned by the Ontario Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services act and it then becomes the responsibility of the municipality.

As owner, the city would then be responsible for maintenance, honoring the interments that have been sold and maintaining records.

The City of Windsor’s parks department reviewed the cemetery and said in a report there are several improvements that must be carried out in the near future.  Those include path improvements, tree removal and trimming, ditch stabilization and re-installation of water service.

In addition, a contract to maintain the site and to excavate graves when needed will have to be established.  A process will also have to be set up to deal with grave site preparation.

Since the property still has plots available, city administration will need to develop a policy on how or if to proceed with selling them.

It is estimated to cost the city $29,000 to get the land up to standards and another $6,000 a year to maintain the grass and landscape.  The city intends to have this done by a contractor.

Approval to assume operations goes to City Council on January 19th, and should council accept, then the city will move to acquire the license transfer.

A separate report would then come to council on whether there is a business case or not to sell the remaining plots.

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