False Creek residents infuriated by funeral home
Fliers have been posted in False Creek protesting the arrival of a Kearney Funeral Home location. Feb. 14, 2013. (CTV)
Published Thursday, February 14, 2013 11:16PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, February 14, 2013 11:28PM PST
A group of False Creek condo owners are waging war against a funeral home moving into the neighbourhood, arguing the family business will hurt both property values and their mental health.
The owners of Kearney Funeral Services said they were struggling to find an appropriate location to move their Celebration of Life Centre, but eventually fell in love with a vacant brick heritage building on Cambie Street and 2nd Avenue.
But funeral director Trevor Crean, whose great-grandfather started the company more than 100 years ago, said the business became the target of an attack campaign before anyone even bothered to talk with him.
“It’s disappointing,” Crean said. “I think they have a big misunderstanding of what we’re actually going to be doing in the community. I wish that we were given the opportunity to speak to them.”
Construction is still underway at the location, but fliers have been plastered throughout the neighbourhood warning residents about plummeting property values, and an online petition has been created calling on the city to force the funeral home out.
“A funeral home affects people negatively in multiple ways, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and also financially,” reads the petition, which also calls on Vancouver city council to halt construction immediately and conduct an impact study.
Laura MacCormack, who sits on the strata council of the condo next door, said the placement of the home can even be considered culturally insensitive, and the community should have been consulted first.
“Some realtors may say that this doesn’t affect property values, but there are definitely cultures out there that believe in feng shui and know that they will not buy… in a building located across from a funeral home where bodies are stored,” MacCormack said.
“I feel whether it was a restaurant or a nightclub or a gym, we should have been notified of this change of use.”
The business owners said the property did not have to be re-zoned, and so a public notification was not necessary.
Crean insists the venue will mainly be used for memorial services, which don’t include bodies. He acknowledged there will be a place to keep deceased loved ones for funeral services, but said there will be no embalming at the site, and the main Kearney Funeral Services location will remain in New Westminster.
He also disagrees with the notion that funeral homes make bad neighbours.
“It is impossible to do this job without being ethical, compassionate, reliable, trustworthy, and I could not think of better qualities to look for in a neighbour,” Cearns said.
“When we actually meet with a family in their time of need, they realize pretty quickly the service and the value that we bring to a community.”
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Nafeesa Karim