The City of Steinbach is planning upgrades at its Heritage Cemetery along Loewen Boulevard to accommodate a growing trend toward cremation. Russ Dyck, head of Parks and Recreation, says they will build a cremation garden this year which will include a columbarium. He explains what a columbarium is.

"It's an above-ground structure, typically constructed out of granite, with small niches that accommodate one or two urns for cremation interments."

Dyck says the cremation garden they have designed will have a large round columbarium in the centre, eventually surrounded by semi-circular structures. He notes cremation interments have been increasing in recent years.

"We do sense a bit of a change in the way people plan to be buried. Typically, in this region, it has been ground burials. But cremation interments have been going up over the last 20 years. Currently, it's around 15 per cent of the burials. It's still a small percentage of our total interments but it is something we would like to offer for those who wish to be cremated."

He says ground plots currently cost $1,800 and the columbarium chambers will cost $3,500 but can hold two urns. Dyck notes there is no requirement for a headstone in the columbarium.

Meanwhile, Dyck says they will be adding another 740 burial plots at Heritage Cemetery this summer to keep pace with future needs. And unpaved sections of the roads in the cemetery will be paved this year.