A proposed crematorium in Kitchener is once again a hot-button topic, with delegates coming forward to voice their concerns.

A staff report presented to the City of Kitchener’s Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee on Monday said it is “in the public interest” to re-zone the Henry Walser Funeral Home and its three neighbouring houses.

Henry Walser, owner of Henry Walser Funeral Home, is looking to demolish three houses that he owns and currently rents out at 40, 44, and 48 Becker Street in order to expand his business at 507 Frederick Street.

The extra room would allow him to nearly double parking and add an on-site crematorium, which according to regulations, must be 250 metres away from residential homes.

“The tenants have been aware of the big picture for several years. Even though it has changed – I admit that. It was never my intention to be in the affordable housing business. I am a funeral director,” Henry Walser said during the meeting.

The homes are rented out as multiple units referred to as “affordable”.

Some delegates said they did not want a crematorium in their neighbourhood and were upset about the removal of three homes.

“We will lose our home where we raised our son and our garden where I grow food,” said one delegate.

“I wish we would prioritize a roof over people’s heads rather than asphalt under people’s tires,” said another delegate.

Walser said he would look into building up instead of out to potentially keep the homes in place but said the structure would not support a second story.

The committee ultimately voted to leave the decision for a future council meeting scheduled for Jan. 30.

In Nov. 2021, residents shared their concerns about the crematorium at a meeting.

At the time, Walser said he had no plans to demolish 44 and 48 Becker Street – instead just one home was said to be impacted.