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Crematorium could open later this year

Owner getting positive feedback for project
2018-05-07 Michel Lessard MH
Lessard-Stephens Funeral Home owner Michel Lessard talks to council about his plans for a crematorium. Maija Hoggett/TimminsToday

If all goes according to plan for a Timmins business, cremation services will be offered in the city this year.

At Monday's meeting, Lessard-Stephens Funeral Home owner Michel Lessard was looking for council's support for the business to establish and run a crematorium.

“The cremation rate right now is near 85 per cent and will continue to increase. Therefore, to better serve our community, Lessard-Stephens Funeral Home is in the works of installing and operating a local crematorium,” he said.

While councillors had a few questions about emissions and consulting with the neighbours, they were supportive of the plan.

If all goes well, Lessard said the crematorium could open by the end of summer or fall.

He said the Ministry of Environment has strict rules for emissions. The funeral home is talking to a Stouffville company for the cremator, which “creates lower and cleaner emissions complying with rules and regulations of the Ministry of the Environment.”

“There’s also an emission monitor system that runs 24/7 recording oxygen and carbon monoxide levels. All equipment is to be installed in the existing building of 34 Elm St. S. that Lessard-Stephens Funeral Home owns, therefore no structural changes needs to be done. I also completed the cremator operator course in March, which was very informative. And this is something that you need to operate a crematorium,” he said. “And I can assure you that Ontario has established very high standards when it comes to operating a crematorium.”

To make sure the operation would comply with MOECC noise and air emissions standards, Lessard also included preliminary feasibility study from an engineering firm with his request. That report’s results indicate that “it is likely that the facility will be able to meet the provincial requirements for the installation of a cremator facility at the site”.

Lessard said his neighbours have signed a letter of support for the project as well.

“Also, I have received nothing but positive feedback and words of encouragement from the public regarding this project,” he said.

Mayor Steve Black reiterated the support.

“I think the general community reaction even since it’s been covered in the local media over the last few days has been very positive about the need to have this service local and what that means to the families to be able to have the entire process that’s already difficult enough on its own to go through, but to be able to have it all done locally without having to worry about that extra transportation step is important for many families,” Black said.

Right now, Lessard said the closest crematorium is in Matheson, and there are also units in Kirkland Lake, Haileybury, and more.

“Having a crematorium located at the funeral home will bring advantages to the bereaved families that we serve. It will eliminate the transportation of the deceased outside of Timmins as well as the return of the cremated remains by public transportation, therefore providing a local, dignified service,” he said.

Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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