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This article was published 19/6/2019 (341 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
City officials want to put a former cemetery up for sale.
Councillors on the property and development committee will be asked at their June 24 meeting to endorse declaring the parcel tucked away between parking lots in the West Fort Garry Industrial Park as unneeded land that should be put up for sale.
The property — a rectangular parcel about 19,300 square feet in size, or just under a half-acre — is bounded by three parking lots northwest of the intersection of Scurfield Boulevard and Prestwick Drive.
An administrative report to the committee meeting said the property was originally acquired by expropriation in 1977 at a cost of $2,100 from the Parish of St. Vital, part of a land assembly initiative. However, the strip was never sold.
Most of the remains on the property had been exhumed, but the report states parish officials told the city at the time that six bodies remained buried on the site, as next of kin could not be located for permission to remove them.
The report states city staff were never able to locate the six bodies, even using ground radar, which was attributed to debris scattered throughout the site, and the parcel was left untouched.
As the surrounding area developed, the city received offers on the parcel, but deals were never considered as officials believed there were remains on the property.
However, the report notes the situation changed in 2016, when parish officials informed the city that, despite the original assumption, all remains had been removed from the property prior to the city’s expropriation.
"The parish noted that all 67 bodies in the former cemetery had been accounted for in the new cemetery and suggested the backstory was urban legend," the report states.
Coun. Brian Mayes, chairman of the committee, said city staff told him the bodies had been exhumed in the 1930s and moved to a Catholic cemetery on Crescent Drive.
Armed with the parish’s confirmation, the Funeral Board of Manitoba revoked the property’s cemetery status, clearing the way for its sale.
Mayes said he doesn’t see any hurdles to declaring the property surplus, adding that with the committee’s support, the issue will be forwarded to council.
The city councillor said the former cemetery is one of dozens of parcels of land the city has acquired over the decades.
"We seem to have these odd parcels of land, some of it just having been 13 different cities and RMs at one point," he said.
"At least this one, we’re going to declare it surplus and put it up for sale."