Watch above: You could say it’s a “hidden” cost in funeral arrangements but a city by-law requires what’s known as an interment vault before a loved one can be buried. Meaghan Craig explores what the casing is about in part one of a two part series.
SASKATOON – It’s a “hidden” cost you may not know about it but you should when planning a funeral for a loved one or yourself.
On Wednesday, Global News hit the streets showing folks this photo.
Just by looking at it, many people we asked didn’t know what it was or what went in it.
“I have no clue … no idea whatsoever.”
“Oh for storing a motorcycle in.”
One person was familiar with it though.
“It’s actually for a casket. Somebody could put a casket inside, in a hole to cover up the casket.”
They are interment vaults, structural enclosures designed to cover caskets, made of concrete or in this case fiberglass. They were also made mandatory as a cemetery supply by the City of Saskatoon more than two decades ago.
“Basically it’s just a giant shell underground that supports the earth so that the ground doesn’t sink down,” said Kyle Markusa, president of Progressive Yard Works.
READ MORE: New cemetery app helps people find loved ones graves
New online tool launched to map Saskatchewan cemeteries
The company has supplied vaults to the City of Saskatoon but is not the exclusive manufacturer since a request for bids is issued every 20 to 30 months or as required.
“There is a base that goes underneath which is on the bottom and basically the base goes down first, the casket gets lowered then the top goes on top to basically create a nice seal all the way around.”
The base isn’t required and according to Markusa is only requested at a ratio of one to every 10 vaults.
The bylaw however does mandate the same protection for urns, although the vaults are considerably smaller and are made of sourced hemp infused with polyester resin. Progressive Yard Works also offers a carbon fiber urn vault.
“You’ll simply put it inside and then put your lid on top.”
The vaults also need to meet a certain size profile both in length and width and be able to withstand a weight load of 14,000 pounds.
“If you don’t meet the size well than it’s no good for anybody because you can’t cover it, and if it’s not strong enough, it’s not good because it will just collapse. It’s got to be relatively light otherwise you can’t physically lower it down so that’s why fiberglass is good for this because it’s lightweight, it last forever and it’s an extremely strong product.”
For more information on interment vaults … stay tuned. On Thursday, Global News will reveal the costs associated with them, when you have to pay those fees and the safety behind the decision to make these mandatory.