Funeral home controversy hits the courts

Residents opposed to the construction of a funeral home in their neighbourhood took their fight to court Tuesday.

Members of the community association for Quinterra-Riverwood are trying to convince a judge to allow their case to go to trial.

The group of 150 residents have been battling the proposed funeral home for over a year. In January Ottawa's city council approved the controversial re-zoning application for Tubman Funeral Homes to build on Riverside Drive near Hunt Club.

The group appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, arguing that the application doesn't adhere to the city's official plan because it doesn't consider the human rights involved.

The association says the funeral home would offend residents of Southeast-Asian origin, and would be an affront to their freedom of religion. The residents of Southeast-Asian descent believe that living so close to the souls of the dead brings bad luck.

The OMB turned down the appeal. It dealt only with the planning issues, refusing to tackle the question of human rights.

Now the residents argue that because the OMB did not look at the charter issue, the case has been thrown into the lap of the courts. There the charter issue can get a full hearing.

The judge reserved her decision. If the case proceeds to trial, it would likely be heard in February.

Tubman Funeral Homes is expected to apply for a site-plan permit this Friday.