For the Lakeside Leader
A longtime church-owned cemetery near Kinuso will become property of Big Lakes County.
At its regular meeting Nov. 28, county council approved a recommendation by administration to take over the ownership of the Swan Valley Cemetery. The request came from the United Church of Canada, which owned the property and no longer has a presence in the community.
Upon amalgamation of the Swan Valley Cemetery Committee with the Kinuso Community Association, council approved the ownership of the cemetery passing to the county from the church. The recommendation was made to council by Heather Nanninga, the county’s director of corporate services.
Council was initially presented the request at its Nov. 14 meeting. At that time, council asked administration to acquire further information.
“It’s in very good condition,” Nanninga told council. “The plot plan is well laid out and followed; it is tidy and orderly.”
County records also indicate the cemetery got high marks in 2016 when the status of all cemeteries in the county was reviewed.
“According to the review, the Swan Valley Cemetery as among the highest rated in the county,” said Nanninga, “scoring 4.5 out of five.”
The community association has copies of the plot plan and records of those interred, Nanninga added. The community association has also been looking after maintenance of the property in recent times.
The United Church of Canada building and manse in Kinuso were sold in August of this year. This information came to the M.D. via a letter from Erin White of the Yellowhead Presbytery of the United Church.
“With the sale of this property,” the letter said, “our presence in the Hamlet of Kinuso ended, and with it, the community’s formal relationship with the Swan Valley Cemetery.”
White said the United Church has no formal policy in place on what to do with cemeteries in communities where no congregation is located.