We feel for those who are upset, but we believe the new cemetery bylaw that the Municipality of North Cowichan is bringing in is a good thing.
The bylaw addresses what people can and cannot leave on the graves of their loved ones.
It is designed specifically to affect the Mountain View Cemetery on Somenos Road.
When the Citizen first reported this news, we received feedback from a number of people who were very upset with the idea.
They have purchased a plot, they argue, where they’ve laid a loved one to rest.
They should be allowed to leave whatever mementos they choose there, as part of mourning however they wish.
Cemetery staff have a different perspective, however.
They are charged with the important task of keeping the cemetery neat and tidy for all the folks laid to rest there and those who come to visit them.
They see what happens to the lion’s share of those mementos after family members and friends have left them there for extended periods of time.
Most of the items left disintegrate from being out in the weather.
So instead of a lovely arrangement of some sort, after a few weeks or months what is there is scraps of plastic, bits of wire, paper, and ribbon. It blows around and creates a hazard for employees trying to cut the grass or litters someone else’s grave.
It is nobody’s desire for the cemetery to start looking like a place people have tossed garbage willy-nilly.
The groundskeepers are left to remove items when they get rough around the edges, as people seldom come back to collect
them on their own initiative. Things like placing landscape rock make maintenance difficult, and putting in living trees and shrubs and the like without permission or consultation will end up encroaching on others’ space.
We were also interested to find out that the items people are asked not to leave on graves are already posted on a sign.
People have chosen to ignore it, so now it’s becoming a bylaw.
All that is being asked is that people remember their loved ones in a way that respects the need to keep the cemetery tidy and maintained for everyone.
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