City celebrates Woodlawn cemetery expansion

Elected officials cut the ribbon Wednesday on the first phase of the Woodlawn Cemetery expansion.

“We’re looking forward to phase two and three in future years," said Mayor Lori Ackerman.

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The expansion adds 311 full burial plots, including nine Muslim burial plots, making Woodlawn the first cemetery in the region since Grande Prairie to include the Muslim community.

The expansion also includes 18 green burial sites, which the city says returns a body as naturally as possible to the earth by utilizing a biodegradable casket or shroud. Trees and other greenery are then planted around the body, with no marked plots.

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Phase 1 Expansion of the Woodlawn Cemetery, completed and opened Oct. 21, 2020. - City of Fort St. John

There were 192 Columbarium niches and 110 cremation burial plots added to the cemetery, as well as new scattering gardens, where families can spread the ashes of their loved ones. 

Beyond the plots, there’s also a new gathering space, paved access road, landscaping, tree and shrub plantings, a pergola structure, fencing, and a granite memorial slab.

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Phase 1 Expansion of the Woodlawn Cemetery, completed and opened Oct. 21, 2020. - City of Fort St. John

The full expansion expected to take 20 years to complete, with no set completion date for phase two.

More than 800 plots are expected to be added, enough to meet the city's needs for the next 40 years.

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Phase 1 Expansion of the Woodlawn Cemetery, completed and opened Oct. 21, 2020. - City of Fort St. John

Email reporter Tom Summer at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca

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