October 16, 2019, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 42
Cemetery maintenance
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Archive photo
Flooded cemetary in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta.
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
Members from the Crowsnest Pass Memorial Society spoke to Council on Tuesday, October 8th, to discuss what ways the municipality can help with upkeep of the local cemeteries.

“We are a memorial society that is trying to work together with the municipality in order to maintain our cemeteries into a dignified and respectful place,” said Darrell Sydora, who spoke on behalf of the Crowsnest Pass Memorial Society.

“We have many gravesites that I would consider to be a hazard and an insurance liability for our municipality.”

Some of the discussion was around the new bylaw being created and what both sides would like to see.

Among many other things that will be addressed in the bylaw, one topic was how families will be contacted and if they’d be held responsible for upkeep of gravesites.

“It is the municipality’s responsibility to make sure that these hazards are addressed. There are ways of doing that by registered letters, talking with the family members, seeing if they'll look after the site. If not, then we are going to have to address it,” said Sydora.
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Another topic was what kind of gravestones the municipality will allow moving forward.

Councillor Sygutek asked if there is a plan to have full concrete covers removed as an option and Sydora says that is something that he would recommend be put in the bylaws.

The bylaw will most likely be presented to council sometime in the New Year.

Sydora also touched on the Blairmore Catholic Cemetery.

“With the intersection that's being developed there right now, it's going to be a focal point and we would like to see it looking a lot better. As a person who works in that cemetery, the hedge that is there, I'd recommend it be removed. It's a haven for animals and it infringes upon the gravesites and there are a lot of problems with it. I would recommend replacing it with a rod iron fence.”

Sydora says their committee has fundraised in order to assist with the project and that they are trying to work with the municipality to complete it.

As discussion progressed, Councillor Sygutek said she will ask council to look into different ways they can help fund some of the fixes needed in local cemeteries.
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“I am going to ask that when we look at our budget period for us to start earmarking money every year towards a cemetery fund. I think it should be done on a yearly basis. Not necessarily just for one cemetery but we can work with our committees and see what cemeteries are in the greatest need.”

Councillor Sygutek added that as council discusses how to provide funds for the cemeteries that updates be provided to council on a yearly basis to show what changes have been done.

"It's really important to show the face of what you're doing and I really encourage you each year to come forward."

Another discussion around the cemeteries was if any injuries have occurred due to unsafe tombstones and other issues.

"I know people who have injured themselves but never made a full complaint. I've witnessed people tripping and falling over some of the fallen stones. For snowy days, I would recommend no one go into the cemeteries because you don't know what's underneath the snow," said Sydora.

Council will now continue to look into ways to add cemeteries into the next budget to ensure the fixes and upkeep needed can be accomplished.

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October 16, 2019, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 42
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