Cemetery Business Planning : The Basics

Join Erik Lees, founding principal of LEES+Associates, and Jennifer Thibert, CPA, CMA, for an introduction to cemetery business planning.

This webinar was offered in partnership with Western Canada Cemetery Association (WCCA) and LEES+Associates as a part of the WCCA conference.

In this one hour webinar, you will learn:

  • The importance of understanding market demand, disposition trends, and inventory vs. land capacity;
  • The unique considerations of cemetery business planning;
  • Business planning tools for cemeteries, and
  • Translating a business plan into actions.


 

Planning Makes Perfect: An Introduction to Cemetery Master Planning

In June of 2020, LEES+Associates began offering e-learning opportunities for those new to the wonderful world of cemeteries and for those more experienced and wanting to ensure they are abreast of best practices and the latest training available.

We are excited to present the last in the series, Planning Makes Perfect: An Introduction to Cemetery Master Planning! 

In this focused webinar, you will learn:

  • The many benefits of having a plan;
  • The unique considerations of cemetery master planning;
  • Master planning tools for cemeteries and,
  • How to translate a plan into action.

Join Erik Lees, founding principal of Lees+Associates, as he integrates over 40 years of cemetery planning and design in this fast paced webinar.

Missed the other webinars? Watch them here.

Green Burial: From Concept to Reality

In our second Introductory Cemetery Webinar Series titled Green Burial: From Concept to Reality, Erik takes us through another fast paced webinar.

In this focused webinar, you will learn:

  • The foundations of green burial: from concept to reality;
  • Why more individuals and cemetery operators are opting for green burial, and
  • How to incorporate a green burial section into a new or existing cemetery.

Check out our YouTube channel for more videos in our cemetery webinar series.

Cemetery Trends: How They Will Affect Your Cemetery

In the first of our Introductory Cemetery Webinar Series, Erik Lees integrates over 40 years’ experience in cemetery design, planning and management, in this fast paced and interactive webinar. This 45-minute session covers current trends in cemetery design, operations, and interment options.

You will learn:

  • How current interment and memorialization trends are affecting cemetery managers;
  • How cemetery operations are responding and planning for burial surges and;
  • the foundations of cemetery business planning.

Check out our YouTube channel for more videos in our cemetery webinar series.

Ocean View Cemetery, Astoria, OR

Ocean View Cemetery

On March 16th, 2020, the City Council of Astoria, Oregon unanimously approved the Ocean View Cemetery Master Plan. This comprehensive Plan was prepared by the Vancouver office of LEES+Associates with support from the Portland office of David Evans Associates Ltd and was intended to help foster sustainable operation and development of Astoria’s remarkable, 123-year-old cemetery.

Ocean View Cemetery is situated on an aging sand dune about 2 km. from the Oregon Coast. The rolling site contains a 1915 community mausoleum designed by renowned Portland architect, Ellis F. Lawrence, and an intriguing 30’ tall conical mound set within the Civil War veterans’ burial section. While there are no known burials inside the mound, it features a set narrow set of steps leading to a flagpole and memorial plaque at its apex, from which there are panoramic views over the site and its Cemetery Lake.

Near the end of the project, the LEES+Associates design team came across an image suggesting that Ocean View’s original landscape architects had borrowed the idea of a conical mound from a strikingly similar feature at The Mound Cemetery, in Marietta Ohio.

The Marietta cemetery was constructed around a burial mound (or “barrow”), which had been built by the indigenous Adena people that had inhabited the area from about 100 BC to 500 AD. This ancient landform is reported to contain prehistoric human remains and is believed to be the last of many similar mounds that were once scattered across the American Midwest.

The Marietta mound was saved from destruction Marietta pioneers, who chose to to establish a cemetery around it. They surrounded the landform with the graves of more Revolutionary soldiers than are buried in any cemetery in the country. The Marietta cemetery, with its iconic mound, remains active to this day.

As cemetery designers, finding hidden connections like this is among the greatest pleasures of our work— always amazing “hidden treasures” to discover!

Ocean View Cemetery

The Scattering Garden: Providing a Place of Beauty and Resonance


The article “The Scattering Garden: Providing a Place of Beauty and Resonance” first appeared in the Cremationist Magazine (copyright CANA 2020). It was written by Heidi Redman and Richard Cook.

More North Americans than ever are scattering their loved ones’ ashes. Every year, thousands of cremated remains are scattered across the landscapes of North America. It is estimated that at least two tons of cremated remains are scattered on Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains every year. This trend reflects both the rising rates of cremation, and a desire to find ritual and connection when dealing with grief.

As the role of cremation has increased, so has the demand for scattering gardens in cemeteries. Reasons for growing interest in scattering within the cemetery landscape vary. Having scattered their loved one’s ashes at sea, on a mountain top, or surreptitiously at a favorite park or holiday destination, some families later regret not having a specific marker or a place to easily return to visit. Others may be drawn by the desire to find a sacred space for commemoration, or a decision to be interred next to loved ones. By re-creating the experience of interment and memorialization in a more natural landscape, scattering gardens can draw people to the cemetery for the scattering experience.

Providing a place of beauty and resonance for this type of interment can address a family’s desire for a natural setting; one that evokes the idea of regeneration, and connection to a meaningful landscape.

As the industry responds to the needs of families in the 21st century, cemeteries are developing a range of approaches to scattering gardens, unique to their landscapes and climates, and the cultural and spiritual needs of the families they serve.

Integrating a scattering garden into an existing cemetery necessitates several important considerations.

As a starting point, consider the existing landscape including opportunities on the site to incorporate an existing “natural” area, or restore a naturalized area that will be visually evocative of a characteristic landscape.

A scattering garden is an opportunity to make use of an underutilized part of the cemetery, such as an area with steeper slopes, a woodland, or an area with ground conditions otherwise unsuitable for traditional in-ground burial.

Scattering gardens can be designed for small areas as well as extensive areas of a cemetery. Almost all cemeteries can accommodate some form of scattering opportunity for families. The type of scattering garden and area selected will vary greatly depending on the space available, the climate, the nature of the land, and the management, administration, operation, and associated maintenance. Whether a grassland, forest, or savanna setting, scattering areas can be adapted to reflect the natural landscape of the area.

Scattering should ideally be offered as part of a range of cremation options, such as cremation walks, nature trails, family vessels, ossuaries, in-ground cremation plots, and family and community columbaria. This provides a range of price points, as well as an opportunity for family members to access individual interment preferences within the cemetery…click here to read the rest of the article

Walk Through Kelowna Legacy Gardens, [Video]

Last month LEES+Associates attended the annual British Columbia Funeral Association (BCFA) Conference and Exhibitor’s Showcase in Kelowna, BC.

While in Kelowna, our staff took the opportunity to visit the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery to check out the more than 150 year old cemetery’s newest section for cremated remains and above ground crypts.

In 2014, LEES+Associates completed a master plan for the cemetery and was retained by the City to assist with the burial expansion strategy outlined in the master plan. Work began in 2016 with the preparation of construction documents for the new area dubbed the Legacy Gardens.

In the video above, Richard Cook walks through a section of the garden; the Legacy Garden area offers columbaria niches and mausolea crypts in a picturesque landscape setting. Visit the project profile page for more on the project.
kelowna legacy gardens

Green Burial Interview with Erik Lees [Audio]

Green Burial Interview with Erik Lees

Earlier this week, Erik Lees joined radio host J’lyn Nye on Edmonton’s 630 CHED to discuss green burial, the growing focus on natural burial practices and more.

Erik, who is a board member of the Green Burial Society of Canada, explained the basic guidelines for green burial and emerging burial trends

Listen to the clip below for the entire discussion.

New Projects: Sparwood Cemetery Master Plan

LEES+Associates is pleased to be working with the District of Sparwood on a cemetery master plan for two cemeteries in the district. When completed, the master plan will provide recommendations for best practices and strategy for future development utilizing current and emerging burial practices.

Ivy Smith and Richard Cook from the team took time in between site visits and meetings during their recent trip to Sparwood to check out the colossal Sparwood Titan Truck, one of the biggest trucks in the world, and an absolute must-see when you’re in the area!

 Sparwood Cemetery Master Plan

 Sparwood Cemetery Master Plan

 Sparwood Cemetery Master Plan

 Sparwood Cemetery Master Plan

A Visit to Bedrock Granite

A visit to Bedrock Granite Stone

In the last few years, LEES + Associates has been working on the planning and design of a new cemetery in western Canada. The cemetery is expected to open in 2019 with the landscape contract slated to go to tender this fall.

The LEES + Associates design team hopes to incorporate basalt pillars and Alberta Sandstone into feature areas of the new cemetery; Madoc Hill and Leila Zeppelin from the team had a great visit to Bedrock Natural Stone last week to select stones for the project.
Here are a few photos from their visit.

Bedrock Granite Stone

Bedrock Granite Stone

Bedrock Granite Stone

Bedrock Granite Stone

Bedrock Granite Stone