URBAINVILLE, PEI – May 11, 2012 – After giving their enthusiastic and unanimous support to a 1,380-square-foot expansion of their funeral home in Urbainville, members of the Evangeline Funeral Co-op mandated their board of directors to raise, rather than borrow, the $160,000 required for the project.
Following this decision, taken during the co-op’s annual meeting last month, the board formed a fundraising committee. Already, it has determined that it will attack the challenge from two angles: inviting members to further invest in their shares and inviting corporations, organizations and individuals to make large or small donations to the project. Details of the campaign, along with promotional rewards for various levels of contributions, will soon be announced.
President Ernest Gallant explains this small co-op handles an average of 22 funerals a year. Its small profit margin provides enough income to maintain the home’s operations, but would certainly not allow for payments on a $160,000 mortgage – hence the fundraising campaign.
“We would really like to begin construction in 2012 since this year marks our 25th anniversary, but that will depend entirely on our members’ volume of investment and on the donations we will receive,” said the president. “Already, a few individuals have started contributing to the cause. It’s an encouraging sign.”
He mentioned that members will be invited to invest an additional $100 or more in their shares (building fund). When they pass away, their share capital, along with accumulated interested, can be used to help pay for their funeral or can be given to their estate, depending on the person’s wishes. He noted that any money already invested in prearranged funeral funds cannot be used for this expansion project.
The expansion in question seeks mainly to address the problem of traffic congestion in the funeral home’s lobby during wakes. The problem is mostly seen when the deceased comes from a large family or is well known. Waiting lines sometimes extend outside the building, when the five or six rows of people in the lobby can’t accommodate everyone.
The project will first widen the room that is currently used for wakes by 10 feet and then transform it into a waiting room with about 90 chairs. Immediately behind this area, a new 30-foot-by-30-foot wake room will be constructed (essentially the same size as the newly revamped waiting room).
“Visitors will now be able to sit down, rather than stand in those long waiting lines,” explained Gallant. “As is seen in other funeral homes, an usher will guide the traffic, telling the rows of visitors when it is their turn to proceed to the wake room. He’ll get them to enter through one doorway and out the other, back into the other side of the waiting room.”
He feels this approach will considerably improve traffic flow in the entire building and mostly in the lobby.
The small kitchenette/coffee, just off the lobby, will also be expanded a bit. Small offices will be built on each side of the main entrance to the building. The manager’s office will move to the right one and a donation office for various causes will be set up in the left one. The current manager’s office will then be transformed into a storage and janitorial room.
All of the building’s windows will be replaced. Two columns and a small canopy will be installed at the main entrance.
Following this project, the board will have to look at the question of parking. The co-op owns an acre of land immediately behind the home. It would like to eventually transform it into a parking lot. Again, this would require a substantial investment.
The co-op however wishes to proceed prudently, with one project at a time.
CUTLINE: This sketch of the renovated Evangeline Funeral Co-op clearly indicates where the various rooms will be located, along with the direction of the traffic flow.
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