Due to problems caused by rain and a high water table, the City of Moose Jaw has cancelled casket burials at its Rosedale Cemetery.
The city-owned cemetery at 1804 Caribou St. W. is dealing with too much standing water and soft or wet ground over a wide area.
In addition to banning casket burials, it has also cancelled all monument installations until further notice. Burials of cremated remains will continue in some cases.
Several days of rain has made an existing problem worse.
"The cemetary is built on a relatively flat site and it's very heavy clay here and there's a very high water table," Jody Hauta, Moose Jaw's director of parks, explained Friday. "So what happens is, when we get spring run off and also when we get a lot of rain — like this spring — it holds water very well."
Hauta said there are currently 14 burials of caskets that have been postponed.
Tracey Cook, a cemetery sub-foreman, said part of the decision to hold off on burials was out of respect for the deceased.
"When we do ... a cremation dig or a full burial dig and stuff, [we ensure] that they're not having to put the urn and stuff in water or the casket has to go into a lot of water," she said.
The delay, which could be around two weeks, is difficult for families.
"It puts them through the same feelings they may have started to deal with," Kelly Scott, who owns Parkview Funeral Chapel, said. "It kind of puts them back a few steps and you know, it's not something we like to see a family go through."
Moose Jaw has hired a consultant to examine the site and recommend a solution as this is the third year in a row that water has been a problem.
The city added that maintenance of the cemetery is also on hold as crews are having problems mowing the grass and trimming around the gravestones. The access roads are not in good shape and the city is asking people to minimize car traffic into the cemetery, if possible.
Meanwhile, the Moose Jaw Cemetery, also owned by the city, located at 1005 Caribou St. E. is still open.
There's also the privately owned Sunset Cemetery on the south end of city.