A change in provincial rules is allowing for bigger cemeteries to be developed near P.E.I.'s four largest municipalities.

The change means large cemeteries will be allowed in special planning areas outside Charlottetown, Summerside, Cornwall and Stratford.

Right now, areas designated for institutional use are limited to three acres under provincial rules.

"The exemption that we looked at is allowing cemeteries to be created that were larger than three acres," said Dale McKeigan, P.E.I.’s acting manager for provincial planning .

It's extra space that Tom Deblois, administrator for Sherwood Cemetery Company, said will be needed.

"Ten, 12 years down the road, if the sale of plots continues at the pace that we’re experiencing today, then we will be challenged in terms of where we are going to go from there," said Deblois.

At People's Protestant Cemetery, Neil MacDonald also welcomes the change.

He said any opportunity for larger development is a good thing, although he isn't sure it's needed right now.

"Today there's a lot of cremations taking place and it doesn't require near as much space," said MacDonald.

"Probably over the last 20 years, it's gone from five per cent to 35 or 40."

It's a change that could slow things down but McKeigan said it still doesn't eliminate the need for more cemetery space.

"We looked at the bigger picture and thought that it was more prudent to provide an exemption for cemeteries," McKeigan.

"We have to look down the road and see how we can accommodate the future better."

The amendment clears the way for a proposed 12-hectare cemetery within the Charlottetown Region Special Planning Area.  McKeigan said it’s one of what he believes will be many. He said as older cemeteries fill up the need is inevitable.