Resident builds mock smokestack to oppose proposed crematorium

Porter Creek residents have to put up with an unsightly smokestack sooner than they expected. D’Arcy LaCoste, who lives three lots away from…

Porter Creek residents have to put up with an unsightly smokestack sooner than they expected.

D’Arcy LaCoste, who lives three lots away from the site slated to be home to the Yukon’s first crematorium, has erected a replica smokestack.

His goal is to demonstrate what homeowners can expect if they don’t fight to keep Heritage North Funeral Home’s project out of their neighbourhood.

LaCoste’s smokestack stands on an empty lot where Twelfth Avenue meets Centennial Street in Porter Creek. It is next to the crematorium site owned by Chris Thompson of Heritage North Funeral Home.

LaCoste’s 3.5-metre-high mock smokestack features a sheet of plastic that waves in the wind like the steam from a crematorium, he said.

The contraption stands 5.5 meters high, which is half a meter shorter than the proposed crematorium’s smokestack, said LaCoste.

Building a crematorium in Porter Creek requires Thompson’s lot be rezoned. The site is currently zoned to allow a funeral home, not a crematorium.

The issue came up at city council last week.

Bearing a booklet of facts and figures compiled by three furnace technicians, LaCoste addressed council.

He knows blast furnaces.

LaCoste worked as a furnace technician for 11 years.

 “I’ve made my living working on smokestacks and the water vapour that will be emitted by the crematorium stack will be visible as steam on days when it begins to drop below zero,” said LaCoste.

The stack will emit a plume of white steam on days where it reaches minus 30 degrees Celsius. At that temperature, the air can’t absorb the 214 cubic metres of emissions the crematorium stack will be emitting, one-third of which will be water vapour.

“If the air can’t absorb the water as quickly as the furnace is emitting it, a vapour column will be visible to some degree,” said LaCoste.

At that point, ice crystals and fog begin to form. It will affect visibility in that region of Porter Creek, he said.

And blast furnaces are noisy.

The crematorium’s high-blast furnace will rumble for three hours as it reduces bodies to ash, he said.

In his replica LaCoste has used a furnace fan that is blowing air at 168 cubic metres per minute.

The noise from the fan is audible from about four metres away and LaCoste said a person walking by the crematorium stack could expect to hear five times that level of noise.

“I’ve made my living working on smokestacks and when you have that much heavy air, especially in the winter, being moved by a high blast furnace, it will make noise,” he said.

When that much hot air meets cold air it will emit steam equal to about 40 households.

“I admit the furnace will run clean, I’ll give them that, but the steam will be seen at low temperatures and the noise will be heard when you’re walking by,” said LaCoste.

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