Summerland District Staff in Hot Water Over Cemetery Cleanup
It was an emotional council meeting for staff in Summerland on Monday as residents expressed concerns to the districts recent clean sweep of Canyon View Cemetery.
Last week mourners were shocked to see that all items placed as memorial offerings were removed without their notification.
Summerland Mayor Janice Perrino says she was just as shocked as residents to find out the sweep had taken place.
"We have a bylaw on the books that talks about what is allow as far as flowers and so forth at Canon View and it has never been followed through with. So it came as a complete shock to most of the community that there would be an actual sweep of everything that was personal on all of the headstones throughout the entire cemetery"
Perrino says the cleaning was done without council knowledge and regrets the way the situation was handled.
"To suddenly turn around and do this literal, you know every single thing off of the gravesides, is just too drastic and it was a terrible shock. The (district) staff took full responsibility and gave a full apology for their behavior"
Perrino says council is working with staff to rectify the situation and figure out an appropriate way to ensure the cemetery is kept clean and organized in a respectful manner.
She adds that almost all mementos were destroyed but some larger pieces are still placed off to the side where people can retrieve them.
District staff did place two advertisements in the paper informing residents the bylaw would be enforced but many people who addressed council at their regular meeting said they had not seen the ads.
Signs were also posted at the cemetery prior to the removal process but Perrino says the notification was not sufficient.
Adding that while people are mourning they cannot be expected to digest all the information that is floating around them.
You can hear my full interview with Mayor Perrino here...
Anita Sthankiya -Penticton