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Saskatoon's Woodlawn cemetery needs a cash injection and higher fees to cover ongoing expenses. ((CBC))

Saskatoon's city-owned Woodlawn cemetery is operating in the hole as people choose cremations, which are less expensive, officials say.

"As cremations increase we're having a hard time reaching those revenue targets," Ron Laturnus, a city supervisor, told CBC News on Tuesday. "We're operating in a deficit."

People in the funeral business say the trend to cremations is noticeable.

"The industry's not really growing, it's just shifting," said Bill Edwards, the manager of Prairie View Chapel & Crematorium. "So the same number of people live in the province and we have the same number of deaths. Except now about 50 per cent of people are choosing cremation as their form of final disposition."

According to city officials, Saskatoon's cemetery needs about $3.5 million to stay operational. City council has been asked to approve fee increases to generate the necessary revenues.

The city has also been asked to contribute to a cemetery reserve fund.

"We've got another 30 years of capacity," Laturnus said. "We've to start planning now for the future."