At Heritage Gardens being a sustainable cemetery means more than checking boxes to meet carbon tax requirements or just saying we are green. It means that everyone on our team makes sustainable choices in all areas of our lives and we are responsibly contributing to our community and neighbourhood.
With each season that passes we are on the lookout for new ways to improve our practices and leave the world a greener place than we found it. We are one of two certified Green Cemeteries in all of the lower mainland and we are proud to offer sustainable burial options to our community. Green burial means that you can be gently returned to the earth without the use of chemicals or by putting unnatural materials into the earth. Being a green cemetery is just one of the ways that we are a sustainable business. Our Surrey cemetery has three pillars of sustainability; social, economical, and environmental. Here’s how we are working to uphold these pillars every day.
Social sustainability means that we do everything we can to take care of our community in any way that we can. Heritage Gardens has an organic garden on our grounds in areas that aren’t sanctioned for burial. We donate the produce to visitors, families, and the food bank. In 2019 we gave away over 240lbs of fresh vegetables and our goal for 2020 is 400lbs.
We get out into the community and share as much free information that we can. We know that preparing for the end of life comes with a large amount of information and it can feel overwhelming for many. Heritage Gardens provide free seminars and workshops to educate folks on how to prepare an estate, prepare advanced care directives, and provide information for executors to close an estate. Many community members in the Surrey and surrounding areas have found this to extremely helpful.
Heritage Gardens adheres to the PICA Ethical Code of funeral and cemetery conduct. What this means to us is to lead with compassion. We offer information without pushy salespeople, we are a family run business and work to treat anyone who walks through our doors as family.
Our surrey cemetery has been designed, sanctioned, and built to be green and sustainable since conception. As the first Green Burial Certified cemetery in Metro Vancouver, by the Green Burial Society of Canada, we had to meet a long list of strict requirements. Our grounds have been engineered to sustainably manage all rainwater and run off to ensure the responsible use of water from all sources on our grounds. We use a natural rock filtration system that cleans and recycles the water. In rezoning and development, we dedicated over 2 acres of land to the city for the permanent conservation of the Little Campbell River watershed, as well as removed over 4,000 invasive plant species and replaced them with over 2,000 native plant varieties which we continue to monitor. On almost any day you can see our groundskeeper, Sean Crean, working in the lawns and gardens carefully preserving this wildlife.
We use no pesticides or herbicides on our grounds. They get a little wilder looking but it also provides a comfortable habitat for eagles, deer, honeybees and other wildlife that visit or live here. Operating as a pesticide-free business has given us the ability to grow our vegetable garden and it has given us the ability to support an integral and endangered part of our natural ecosystem, the honeybees. We started honeybee hives in 2019, giving away over 40lbs of fresh unpasteurized honey to families and visitors who had lost a loved one. Our hope is to increase the pollinator presence with additional honeybee hives and add other, native bee, species in 2020.
Our dedication to being a green cemetery and a sustainable business means we allow and encourage the families that come to us to have a burial or cremation interment as eco-friendly as possible. We respect and honour any tradition that a family wishes for their loved ones and many of our members appreciate knowing that they are making a positive impact on the environment with their decisions.
Heritage Gardens understands the strain that so many families feel when shopping for end of life services. We bring customer service and a ‘yes’ mindset to our work. We believe that at such a sensitive time, families deserve compassion and care, not a sales presentation. We based our pricing on what the land cost us to rezone and develop, not the market pricing for burial space. This means that on a double depth plot, the average savings is $4,000-$10,000 compared to other private cemeteries in Surrey. With such a wide variety of burial and green burial options, the savings are far greater compared to cemeteries in Burnaby or Vancouver. In addition, we are the only cemetery in the Metro area to not charge an overtime fee for Saturdays. We do this because we understand that treating our guests like family means putting their needs first and not looking for ways to add fees. We offer easy to understand pricing with financing options and will work to fit any budget. You can download our pricing guide here.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about how Heritage Gardens is a sustainable cemetery. This is such an important part of what we do and who we are as a company. If you have any questions about our practices and services please contact us and one of our team members is ready to help.