Saskatoon considers permanent site where residents could spread cremation ashes into river
Depending on how city councillors and the mayor vote on Monday, residents in Saskatoon may soon be able to disperse cremation ashes into the South Saskatchewan.
In April the Hindu Society of Saskatchewan asked city councillors to create a designated space for people to spread ashes along the South Saskatchewan River.
On Monday the city’s Governance and Priorities committee meeting, made up of all members of city council, will review a report from the city’s administration recommending the city allow people to spread ashes in the river, as well as look at creating a space along the riverbank specifically for this.
The administration is recommending city councillors and the mayor approve to instruct the Community Services Division to draft guidelines respecting scattering cremated remains into the river and continue to look at the possibility of constructing a permanent, dedicated location for scattering cremated remains.
In its guidelines the city seeks to limit scattering of cremated remains into the river to May 1 to October 31 and scattering on close waterways including storm retention ponds not be permitted, the city said.
Scattered remains must be completely pulversized and no bone fragments or human remains may be visible, the city said.
According to the administration’s report, scattering cremated remains in Saskatoon is neither prohibited nor expressly permitted by the city and currently there are no federal or provincial laws respecting the scattering of related remains into the South Saskatchewan River, the city said.
The administration report notes how Saskatchewan’s Environmental Management and Protection Act prohibits disposal of anything causing adverse effects to water quality without a permit and the Federal Fisheries Act prohibits disposing anything that would degrade water quality therefore affecting fish and its habitat.
After consultation with the Meewasin Valley Authority and the Water Security Agency, the city said both groups indicated they are not concerned about the environmental impact of small quantities of cremated remains being scattered into the river.
Manitoba and Alberta have guidelines allowing the release of cremated remains into waterways, Ontario has a designated site where cremated remains can be scattered into waterways, according to the City of Saskatoon.