ADAM JACKSON/Black Press
The Town of Stettler opened discussions involving a sensitive topic — the care of cemeteries.
At its meeting on June 7, council heard a plan on how to deal with cemeteries, which was necessitated by complaints by cemetery users.
“It’s tough, it’s always a sensitive issue,” said Mayor Dick Richards. “When people go out there, they’re very emotional for obvious reasons.”
The town has a plan that incorporates standards from surrounding towns to maintain its cemetery facilities. The plan will impose guidelines for those paying their respects to loved ones.
An example of proposed standards is “Cut flowers may be placed in the cemetery from May 1 to Sept. 30 and will be removed if they become unsightly, wilted or become wind strewn.”
The town is also seeking a casual worker to enforce the standards and maintain the cemetery
“There are lots of times when we are compared to other communities as far as what our cemetery looks like,” said Richards. “Those communities have volunteers that maintain the cemetery because they’re passionate about it, so we can’t compare ourselves to stuff like that.”
According to Richards, many of the items placed around gravestones make it difficult for the maintenance staff to clean up without disturbing the items when mowing.
“God forbid we lose something of emotional value to someone else,” said Richards. “It places a large burden on our shoulders in terms of making sure that we don’t lose those items through maintenance.”
“So what we’ve done is asked administration to come back with a policy that will stipulate what is and what isn’t acceptable to have out there as well as how long certain items can be out there,” said Richard. “It’s a no win situation because when you’re dealing with an emotional issue, one answer isn’t right for everyone.”
Council expects to have a completed recommendation by administration by the end of the summer.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re going to involve the people from the funeral homes and make sure that people get copies of these regulations and make sure that people know,” said Richards.