In our last issue we carried a story from Kamloops This Week about Kamloops city council turning down a re-zoning request from North Thompson Funeral Services Ltd.
The re-zoning would have allowed a property on Seymour Street to be used for a scaled down funeral home – a place for family and friends to make arrangements but with no memorials or embalming on-site.
North Thompson Funeral Services owner Drake Smith wants residents of the Valley to know that re-zoning application does not indicate they plan to move to the city.
According to Smith, North Thomson Funeral Services serves about 65 families per year in the North Thompson Valley. This is well below the 100 that is considered normal in the business.
Perhaps 15 to 25 North Thompson residents move to Kamloops shortly before they die, whether to go to Royal Inland Hospital, the hospice house, seniors housing, or whatever.
They often have family in the city and when they pass away, their family members often think only of calling a Kamloops funeral provider – not one from the North Thompson Valley.
It was with hopes of tapping into some of that market plus, of course, any Kamloops residents interested, that caused them to investigate starting an operation in the city, Smith says.
In May of last year BC Coroners Service decided to centralize its body recovery service regionally to Kamloops. Previously it had been performed in the North Thompson Valley by our local funeral service.
The proposed funeral service in Kamloops, even if scaled down, appears to have been a way to offset some of the business that was lost through that decision.
Nobody likes to think of death and dying, but it happens to all of us sooner or later.
Having our own funeral homes in Clearwater and Barriere has proven to be an invaluable service to members of the community when they are in difficult times.
We should continue to support Drake and Avril as they provide funeral services to residents of the North Thompson Valley.
If expanding those services outside the Valley can help make the local operations more viable, then so much the better.
Keith McNeill is the editor of the Black Press newspaper, The Times, in Clearwater