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New cemetery in Aldergrove open for business

272nd Street facility has been in planning stages for more than a decade
Marcia Terlaak, cemetery manager, stood by the newly-renovated office building at Bakerview Memorial Gardens, which has just opened on 272nd Street in south Aldergrove. (Frank Bucholtz/Special to The Star)

Frank Bucholtz/Special to Aldergrove Star

The first new cemetery to be built in Langley in many years is now open for business in Aldergrove.

Bakerview Memorial Gardens Cemetery is located at 920 272nd St., just to the north of Aldergrove Regional Park.

Planning for it has been underway for more than a decade, said cemetery administrator Marcia Terlaak.

Both provincial and municipal approval is needed in what is a highly-regulated industry, so such a long lead time is not unusual, Terlaak explained.

Unlike most of the large, privately-owned cemeteries in the Lower Mainland, Bakerview is owned by three local business people. The partners had a vision for a private cemetery that could work closely with locally-owned funeral homes, as well as with local residents of all cultures and religious beliefs. They have been working toward this goal for years.

Most existing privately-run cemeteries in the Lower Mainland have been in place for generations, with some of newest large ones already more than 50 years old. Most municipal cemeteries are even older.

Langley has three municipal cemeteries - Fort Langley, Murrayville and Langley Lawn Cemeteries. All are operated by the Township. There are no large private cemeteries in Langley, so Bakerview is blazing a new trail, in that respect.

It is located on a 20-acre parcel of land and the company has very ambitious plans as to how it will develop in the future.

There are 4,604 burial plots in the first phase, and there will also be many options for storing the remains of those who wish to be cremated, Terlaak said.

Cremation has become the dominant practice in B.C. in recent decades, with 85 per cent of all deaths followed by cremation. This is partially due to cultural practices, but it is also due to high costs of a full burial.

There is a shortage of burial plots, particularly in the Lower Mainland, she noted. High land prices and the long lead time required to develop a cemetery have kept expansion of the business to a minimum.

There is also a growing movement to reduce the impact on the planet, with many people expressing a desire to be cremated after death, Terlaak said.

Bakerview will have a number of columbariums, which are buildings or freestanding structures where urns and memorial plaques can be placed. These have become common at most cemeteries, due to the large number of cremations now taking place.

Bakerview already has two columbarium in place, and 168 more are planned.

Cremations and columbariums offer a lower-cost alternative to full burials, Terlaak pointed out, and are in demand.

Terlaak also noted that some religions either require burials, or many of their adherents prefer that option. This is particularly true of the Muslim religion. Muslims believe that burial should take place very quickly after death, and Bakerview has a section which will be devoted to Muslim burials.

Many Christians also prefer burial to cremation, although Terlaak said that this gradually changing. She worked for 15 years at Gardens of Gethsemani, a large Catholic cemetery in South Surrey. When it first opened, virtually all of those whose remains were placed there involved burials. Now a significant portion of the remains placed there are the ashes of those who have been cremated.

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One newer practice in cemeteries is that of burying ashes of other family members in plots where full burials either have taken place or are planned. In effect, this creates a small family cemetery within a larger cemetery.

At Bakerview, each plot can contain two full burials (interments) and six sets of cremated remains. Terlaak said this allows for numerous generations of one family to be laid to rest together.

The staff at Bakerview have a lot of experience in the business.

Brent Miotto, the grounds superintendent, has been in the business for 31 years and has taken part in more than 20,000 burials.

Terlaak has 15 years experience, as does family service advisor Patricia Adams. They are all excited to be part of a new cemetery that is under development.

Derrick Pelley, who is the current president of the Aldergrove Business Association, is involved in sales and other advance planning services for Bakerview, through his companies Elements and Advisorly. He has been informing people in Aldergrove about the new facility as development has proceeded.

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The existing home on the property has been remodelled into an attractive office, and much of the development of the grounds is underway.

The first burial took place on June 21.

Many trees will be planted on the grounds and a master plan for the whole property has been developed. As is the case with almost all cemeteries, the overall development will be fulfilled over a very long period of time.

Terlaak noted that COVID-19 seemed to spur more people into looking into planning the details of dealing with their remains. It also led to many more conversations within families, as more people were reminded of their mortality.

“It is good to have conversations about plans with your family,” she said. “Cemeteries are for the living.”

It is much better to plan ahead and be sure that family members are fully aware of your wishes, and to have those conversations ahead of time, Terlaak concluded.

People interested in finding out more about what Bakerview offers can contact the office at 604-856-0330 or contact the staff by email at The Bakerview website can be found at

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The Somerset columbarium is among more than 160 that are planned for Bakerview Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Columbarium’s are areas where urns of cremated remains and plaques can be placed to remember loved ones. (Bakerview/Special to The Star)