New crematorium with funeral home to open in Kitchener this spring

By Carrie Debrone
Kitchener Citizen
February 13, 2019

The first crematorium attached to a funeral home in Waterloo region will soon open in Kitchener on the site of a former electrical union hall at 3 Forwell Road. The only other crematorium in Kitchener is at the city-owned Williamsburg cemetery.

The City of Kitchener has received an application from Kitchener Funeral Homes and Crematorium Inc., which is privately owned by directors Kamal Bhardwaj and Dabir Singh (Gogi), to establish the crematorium. Approval from the city is required before a license to operate a crematorium can be obtained.

Bhardwaj, who has spent many years in the funeral home business, also owns and operates the Lotus Funeral and Cremation Centre at 121 City View Drive in Toronto, which he opened in 2017.

He said he is hoping to open the new Kitchener facility by the end of March or early April and will soon be hiring employees.

“The popularity of cremation is definitely on the rise,” he said, adding that Waterloo Region’s diversity makes this area a good location for this all-in-one-location type of funeral home project.

The facility will include a two-storey, 1,300-square-metre multi-faith funeral home centre with two service/visitation rooms, one preparation room and a crematorium building.

He said the project will also include a witnessing room where families can watch the cremation if they choose, adding that for some cultures this is a very important part of the way they honour their dead, and may include family members starting the cremation process themselves.

Bhardwaj noted that having the crematorium on the funeral home premises will save families having to drive to different locations for the cremation and service.

“It will make it easier to have everything in one place. Families won’t have to travel to different buildings in different parts of the city. It’s all in one place and I think people will appreciate that,” he said.

“We want to get involved in the community and with local faith groups and to support community events,” Bhardwaj added.

A planning staff report states “staff have reviewed the request for crematorium at this location and are of the opinion that it is in the public interested and are recommending that Council give its approval as required under the funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act.”

The city’s current zoning for this property allows for funeral home use, and while there is no specific definition of a funeral home, a crematorium is considered an accessory use to a funeral home, so the project needs council approval.

The report also recognizes that the project provides appropriate separation distance from nearby homes, being 250 meters from the nearest proposed residential zone and 350 meters from any existing residence.

The business has received approval from the Environmental Commission of Ontario (MOECO), indicating that it complies with rigorous air quality and noise restrictions.

A building permit for the project was issued in May 2018, and construction of the funeral home and crematorium is now nearing completion. Last April, the owners erected a sign notifying the public that a crematorium is proposed on the site (located at the front of the property facing onto Victoria Street). Staff have had no comments from the public. Final permits are expected within 4 weeks.
Future site of the new Kitchener Funeral Home and Crematorium at 3 Forwell Road in Kitchener.