By Amy Judd
January 24, 2017
For the first time in Canada, residents will have another option for a green burial – to become part of a living reef in the waters off British Columbia.
“It’s been in existence for about 15 years down in California and in November I got the rights to bring it up into Canada,” said Kevin Owens, director of Living Reef Memorial Canada.
“It was a process, it probably took me about eight months or so dealing with [the Department of] Oceans and Fisheries and the local municipalities, Transport Canada, as well as the licensing from Living Reef itself.”
The idea behind Living Reef is simple: cremated remains are placed into a mold, made into an artificial reef and then placed in the ocean.
“When Living Reef Memorial acquires the cremated remains of somebody, whether they’re sent directly from a family to Living Reef or from another funeral home, they are incorporated into a mold, which is consisting of seashells, low alkaline cement, sand and the human remains themselves,” explained Owens.
“They are placed into a scientifically-engineered mold that is, once the cure time is completed [and it’s set], which is about 30 days, it is ready to be deployed and placed in various locations, not too far off the coast. They are 200 to 300 yards off the coast into the ocean at depths that range between about 45 to 75 feet. And what they do is they create an artificial habitat for marine life, starting from the smallest of the algae and going up to the fifth ledge, the fish and salmons, which then help out all different marine life from the sea otters all the way up to the orcas.”