Nearly 100 people packed Lacombe town council chambers Monday night urging local politicians to ditch a proposal to expand the cemetery into a ball park.
Despite hearing from a dozen or so residents opposed to displacing ball diamonds to make room for grave sites, council unanimously gave final readings to four separate bylaws that clear the way for expanding the historic Fairview Cemetery.
But whether the ball diamonds are to go remains unclear.
Mayor Judy Gordon said council has yet to decide what to do with the ball diamonds. “At this point in time, all council has done is examine options.”
Later she added, “Until such time as we have decided what’s going to happen in the future those ball parks will stay. Those ball players do not have to worry about those ball parks for the rest of this summer and it could take considerable time for us to move ahead.”
Before anything happens, council needs more information on what it would cost to relocate the diamonds or to find another cemetery location, either in the town or the county.
The town also needs to do a thorough environmental review of a former landfill site that has been eyed as an alternative ball park.
Gordon remains concerned about the safety of the existing ball park. Busy roads and a lack of parking have created a potentially dangerous situation. Some of those who spoke out against the cemetery plan were skeptical of council’s intentions.
Richard Radu, a member of the Lacombe Kinsmen Club, which oversees the ball diamonds, said work is already underway to add more cemetery plots.
“There were more trees cut down today. I took this as a sign to the community that this is going ahead anyway,” he said.
Radu had some optimism that the town might stop at taking out only one diamond.