Pet memorial centre turned down

Central Saanich council says no to alkaline hydrolysis animal carcass disposal operation

An application to start up a pet loss memorial centre on Stanhope Farm was denied by Central Saanich council.

The application came from Jocelyne Monette and Stanhope Farm in April to operate an alkaline hydrolysis animal carcass operation and pet memorial business on Stanhope property.

The process, sometimes referred to as aquamation, takes place in an enclosed machine and reduces corpses to bone in less than 24 hours. The sterile effluent can then apparently be used as fertilizer.

According to the application, Monette had plans to use the alkaline hydrolysis technology that Stanhope owns (to dispose of dead farm animals) to process deceased family pets. The memorial centre component of the business would then factor in as pets’ bones could be ground up and returned to owners much like traditional ashes.

“Alkaline hydrolysis is more environmentally friendly than flame-based cremation,” said Monette during a May 13 Planning and Development Committee meeting, adding that the energy used in alkaline hydrolysis is much less than that used in flame based cremation.

She added there is less of a carbon footprint with the process compared to cremation.

Despite Monette’s intentions to offer a greener gateway over the rainbow bridge for family pets, council immediately denied the application.

According to photo documentation from the municipality’s bylaw officer, Ken Neurateur, the business appeared to be operating prior to any discussions or decisions from council on actually issuing a business license. As well, the building the business was occupying is currently part of an outstanding expired building permit as are two other buildings on Stanhope Farm property also facing bylaw enforcement issues.

“This is just another example of these people not conforming to the bylaws,” said Stanhope Farm neighbour, Ray Baker, who has also voiced concerns over noise and odour stemming from the farm’s composting operation.

During committee proceedings, Mayor Alastair Bryson immediately moved a recommendation from staff that rejected the application and recommended that the applicant seek an alternative location on appropriately zoned land.

The motion was carried with no discussion and only Councillor Carl Jensen opposed.