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LETTER: Green burials in Nelson: a community’s desire

From the Nelson End of Life Society.
Nelson, B.C. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

A substantial proportion of Nelson residents would prefer to be buried in a green burial cemetery. The Nelson End of Life Society (NELS) petition has 1,412 signatures, more than 10 per cent of the 2022 population of 11,106.

A green burial involves burying a body in an untreated wood or wicker coffin or a shroud. The body is not embalmed. The grave can be dug either by family and friends or by machine. The depth of the graves are determined according to provincial and City of Nelson regulations. The grave is not lined and the body is not covered with the conventional fibreglass vault. Green burials cause no detriment to the environment.

Green burial cemeteries allow one to reserve a space but not a specific location. After the soil settles, native shrubs, trees and ground cover are planted and the area returns to its natural state. It becomes a beautiful park. Non-invasive maintenance is generally all that is required.

Some prefer the option of cremation and others prefer conventional burials. However, the option to have a green burial should also be available to those who would prefer it. A number of cemeteries in the Kootenays are offering green burials.

We are a small action group working with the City of Nelson to provide this option to residents. NELS will be making a presentation to city council at the next public meeting at 6.50 p.m. on June 20. Please visit the NELS website at if you are in support of a green burial option at the Nelson Cemetery. Consider signing the online petition. Also, if you can, come to the meeting to show your support.

Lily Mayall, Debbie Gerrits, Andrew Murray and Howie Ross