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Cemetery expansion should move main entrance

It's welcome news that the city has finally bought the vacant land east of the existing Brandon Municipal Cemetery.

Despite fears that it was contaminated because of refinery operations decades ago, the vacant land is the obvious choice for cemetery expansion — something that is sorely needed.

Also, even if the land is a little bit contaminated, frankly, keeping it largely green space is a much better option than sinking basements into it.

The new land will just about double the space of the cemetery, and should keep Brandon in burials for decades to come.

Here's a visual:

The new land is not just supposed to be there for expansion purposes, it's also important drainage for the city. Making it part of the cemetery will allow them to preserve that drainage.

Now, I'm not a hydrologist, but the current drainage is pretty obvious:

Even keeping that in mind, though, there is still an opportunity with the new expansion to completely re-orient the cemetery.

As great as the cemetery is (I love the towering trees), there are a few issues with the current layout. The obvious one is that it is located on 18th Street. Once a sleepy rural highway outside of town, this stretch of 18th Street is now a busy commercial corridor.

There's not enough traffic in and out of the cemetery to warrant lights at its entrance, obviously. Except when there is a funeral procession trying to get either in or out. That can tie up traffic for a while, despite the fact that most drivers are polite to funerals, and will let them in.

If you're not part of a funeral, and you just want to turn left into the cemetery, it can be a bit of an issue.

Some people may not know that there's a secondary entrance off of Aberdeen Avenue:

It's not always open, but I've used it plenty in the past, and it saves me a bunch of time, especially since I'm generally coming up from that direction anyway (from the north and from the east).

So it got me thinking: Why not move the main entrance to Aberdeen?

In fact, why not move it down a little bit into the new area, where a new entrance can be built on empty land, without disturbing current burials at all.

My thought is that a cemetery entrance at 13th Street and Aberdeen Avenue is full of advantages to the cemetery – and to Brandon.

I would make a 13th and Aberdeen entrance a traffic circle. That is proven to help calm traffic and would work in concert with the "speed hump" further east on Aberdeen to slow down what is still is a fairly speedy section of road.

It would also encourage people to see what should be a showcase entrance to the cemetery — I'm thinking stone and wrought-iron gates, something classic.

Finally, it should help encourage people to use 13th Street, even for access to the Canadian Tire / Sobeys / Liquor Mart development, which might relieve some of the congestion on 18th Street.

I originally considered lights, but lights wouldn't necessarily help slow traffic — they'd either stop it, or they'd allow it to rush right through.

I also considered making it an entrance combined with the parking lot entrance beside Canadian Tire, but I think that's too much into the old area of the cemetery, and would be more difficult to build a wide entrance road.

Adding an entrance at 13th Street would be in the new expansion, meaning it could be planned without handcuffs.

As above, I'd bring it in and around the drainage ditch, and then swoop it over top (I'd prefer a bridge and not a culvert) to connect to the main roads in the existing cemetery.

When burials start moving into the new land, it would be easy enough to sprout new roads off of the entrance and open up new plots.

Meanwhile, though, the drainage channel offers an interesting landscape for a cemetery — not too many of them have a creek running through.

An any rate, I'm happy to see the city finally move forward with this obvious expansion. Looking forward to seeing what they do with the land.

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Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 2 Commentscomment icon

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Thanks Rick — I've driven and biked past that 13th and Aberdeen intersection for years and always thought it would be a better entrance. The long-delayed purchase makes it an appropriate time to explore it a little, I thought.

Now, who would be a person of influence in the city ……

Grant, This is an extremely interesting and well thought out article. Without knowing much about the topography and engineering (although you tried to take that into account as well), I'd say it has a lot of merit over the long term. Hope someone of some influence from the City sees your concept and at least puts in the hopper for consideration.
Regards, Rick Chrest

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