News

Alternative location eyed on Boswell Street

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

Jack Bradfield, of Simcoe, has lost his appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board after Norfolk council shot down his plans to establish a crematorium. (File photo)

Jack Bradfield, of Simcoe, has lost his appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board after Norfolk council shot down his plans to establish a crematorium. (File photo)

SIMCOE - 

Members of Norfolk council complained this spring that they didn’t have enough information to make a good decision on a crematorium proposal in Simcoe.

The proposal at the intersection of Upper Wellington Street and First Avenue went down to defeat as a result.

Proponents appealed that decision to the Ontario Municipal Board in August but the board denied it for the same reason.

“The board finds – due to the lack of information about this proposal – that it would not be in the public interest to approve the establishment of this crematorium,” board chair Sarah Jacobs said in a ruling dated Sept. 22.

Jacobs goes on to say that all parties to the Aug. 24 hearing agree that Norfolk County could use a crematorium given the demand locally for crematory services.

Jacobs encouraged the appellants to work closely with the county on any subsequent proposal.

The latest crematorium proposal was sponsored by retired monument maker Jack Bradfield, 70, of Simcoe, and partners Jeff and Jamie Freeman, also of Simcoe.

Many residents and property owners in the north end of Simcoe spoke out against the proposal at a public meeting Feb. 14. Concerns were expressed that a crematorium was incompatible with an area with such high residential density.

Council decided in the end that it didn’t have enough information. Council members said they were unsure whether a crematorium in this location would have an impact on surrounding property owners.

Monday, Bradfield said he is finished with the crematorium concept after 30 years of trying. Local municipalities turned him down on several occasions in the years predating the formation of the new Norfolk County in 2000.

However, Bradfield said the idea hasn’t been forsaken. Norfolk’s committee-of-adjustment granted Freeman Properties Inc. a severance on Boswell Street in Simcoe Sept. 20. Bradfield says the plan is to develop a crematorium proposal appropriate to a three-acre parcel near the intersection of Ireland Road.

“I’ve passed it (the plan) on to the Freemans,” Bradfield said. “They are looking at another site and another location. The OMB has told us to take it back to the county and ask what they want.

“They’re investigating it. It’s a darn good idea. It will employ local people but it remains to be seen if the county squashes it. I’m assisting the Freemans but I’m not involved to the extent that I have been.”

One thing Bradfield established in his most recent campaign was the high demand in the local area for this kind of funerary service.

In 2016, Oakwood Cemetery in Simcoe accommodated the interment of 59 cremated remains. This compares with 55 traditional burials. Meanwhile, the crematorium nearest to Norfolk County is located in Paris.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com