Cowichan Valley crematorium used by East Indians told to close

Sikh Temple

The Cowichan Valley Crematorium was built in 2010 to replace a wood-fired one and was part of a Sikh temple owned by Khalsa Diwan. Google Street View

TIMES COLONIST

A Cowichan Valley crematorium has been ordered to stop operating commercially because doing so contravenes its zoning.

On Wednesday, Consumer Protection B.C. ordered Cowichan Valley Crematorium, at 4695 Cowichan Lake Rd., to cease providing services by April 15. The order followed a B.C. Supreme Court judgment on Sept. 26, 2013, which ruled a commercial crematorium is not a permitted use within the parks and institutional zone of the Cowichan Valley Regional District bylaws.

The gas-fired crematorium was built in 2010 to replace a wood-fired one and is part of a Sikh temple owned by Khalsa Diwan. The district allows cremations for ceremonial purposes.

The crematorium was then put into the hands of Harold Wallace, principal of Cowichan Valley Crematorium, to operate as a commercial business, said the court judgment.

Consumer Protection B.C. issued a licence for the crematorium to operate commercially without consulting with the CVRD about its zoning restrictions. When the CVRD informed the Khalsa Diwan that a commercial crematorium was not allowed under its zoning, the society applied to have the property rezoned, the judgment said. In February 2012, the society withdrew that application and took the position that a commercial crematorium was permitted under the current zoning.

The dispute went to court, and the justice sided with the CVRD.

CVRD board chairman Rob Hutchins responded to Consumer Protection B.C.’s action Wednesday, saying it “recognizes the importance of local land-use bylaws and processes.

“The CVRD takes seriously our responsibility to provide certainty and assurances to property owners and the community at large about what can and cannot happen on lands in a neighbourhood,” Hutchins said in a statement.

Calls to the crematorium on Wednesday were not returned. – Times Colonist

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