killing time1

When it comes to death, Whitehorse residents need to get a life. Handwringing about construction of a crematorium in Porter Creek is now stretching…

When it comes to death, Whitehorse residents need to get a life.

Handwringing about construction of a crematorium in Porter Creek is now stretching into month eight.

Despite review from Environment and city officials and supporting data provided by the manufacturer and proponent, fears about ice fog of the dead, poisonous gases and furnace noise continue to stave off construction of the facility.

Heritage North Funeral Home is now on the verge of losing another building season.

The whole affair is moving into the realm of the ridiculous.

The most common objection is lowering of surrounding property values.

But this is a purely hypothetical problem.

In fact, all evidence gathered by our civic leaders suggests crematoriums in other jurisdictions are virtually invisible neighbours. They certainly have no discernable impact on property values.

As for the gases such facilities give off, the Porter Creek facility will handle far fewer corpses than crematoriums freely operating in southern jurisdictions.

And the pollution from such a facility pales in comparison to other airborne pollution.

In fact, people truly worried about noxious gases could serve the city better by lobbying for improved city transit service, higher city parking fees to discourage cars in the downtown, a municipal tax on gas-guzzling SUVs, legislated annual automotive tune-ups and the impounding of cars that fail emission standards.

Anybody who doubts this should bike up Two Mile Hill at around 4:30 p.m. to experience firsthand the choking fog that gathers in that ravine.

A ride through that daily haze will quickly put the miniscule emissions from a couple dozen cremations a year in perspective.

On Tuesday, councillor Doug Graham asked for a third-party evaluation of the emissions within two weeks.

If Graham’s objective analysis eases the fears, then it will be worthwhile.

But Graham’s tight deadline (no pun intended) is even more important.

The building season is almost over.

It’s time to bury this summer debate once and for all. (RM)