North

Whitehorse man to build mock smokestack to oppose proposed crematorium

A Whitehorse resident says he plans to build a mock six-metre chimney on his property to protest a funeral home's plans to build a crematorium in his Porter Creek neighbourhood.

A Whitehorse resident says he plans to erect a mock six-metre chimney on his property to protest a funeral home's plans to build a crematorium in his Porter Creek neighbourhood.

Plans for the proposed crematorium began winding through the public approval process in a Whitehorse city council meeting Tuesday night. The developer has applied for a zoning change.

Heritage North Funeral Homes wants to build the crematorium, which would be Yukon's first, just off the Alaska Highway on Centennial Street. Funeral home owner Chris Thomson told council Tuesday that the facility will not pollute the area or be noticed by residents when it's in operation.

But Centennial Street resident Darcy Lacoste brought a photograph of a smokestack to Tuesday's meeting to show councillors what people living in his neighbourhood could expect to see if council approves the application.

"This isn't just a steam plume. This is Aunt Nellie in cloud form. And we're going to be reminded of that coming and going," Lacoste said.

"That smoking plume is not going to improve my property value. It's inappropriate for the place it is. I concede we could use the service, but I think there are other answers."

Thomson asked council to consider the feelings of grieving families, as well as those of local residents, in reviewing the application.

"We don't belong in an industrial area, and families don't deserve to drive into an industrial area to care for their dead," he said.

But Lacoste said he promises a fight on the issue.

"I don't have a problem with your business or your funeral home. I'll help you build the funeral home. I would agree with your statement that it would increase our value in that corner," he said.

"But this smoke stack will be sticking up out of the ground. So just a heads-up: we're going to be putting a 20-foot pipe up on the adjacent property line to give the local residents a picture of how big this stack will be."

A public hearing on the crematorium proposal has been slated for June 25.

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