Councillor brings cemetery concerns to council

GUYSBOROUGH: Councillors in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) discussed what options they have in relation to cemetery maintenance.

During the municipality’s regular monthly council meeting on Nov. 17, District 7 Councillor Rickey McLaren, advised he had been receiving inquiries from his constituents around the topic, and if the municipality had anybody doing this.

“And I told the ladies, that I don’t think so,” McLaren said. “They wanted to know if we would hire students to mow the grass and to keep it half decently kept.”

The councillor indicated that within his own district, there are eight cemeteries that require upkeep.

“It would cost an arm and a leg to have somebody hired to do this,” McLaren said. “But they insisted that I bring it up before council, so I told them I would bring it up.”

In response, Warden Vernon Pitts suggested the issue be brought up during the municipality’s planning session.

“Maybe council should be looking at hiring a number of students, through the summer,” Pitts said. “It certainly is something that should be up for discussion.”

Speaking on what occurs in Little Dover, Deputy Warden Janet Peitzsche advised council their parish has a levy, that’s $50 a year from each parish member, to look after the maintenance.

“To pay for somebody to look after the graveyards,” Peitzsche said. “We’ve started doing that, maybe the last four years, and it works excellent. The graveyard has never looked better.”

Following up on her point, she noted she wasn’t sure if every parishioner or every family gives to the cemetery fund, but it works and they have enough money pooled.

“Since they’ve taken that on, the difference in our graveyard and how well kept it is,” Peitzsche said. “I don’t know how much it would cost to do, or what size graveyards you have, but it may not take a whole lot of dollars.”

District 3 Councillor Neil DeCoff explained within his district there is an actual cemetery fund.

“When there is a death, a lot of people will make a donation to the cemetery fund,” DeCoff said. “And we hire one young person who does the church grounds, and we have another person who does the graveyards.”

Councillor McLaren suggested he didn’t believe it would be practical to have a staff member carry out the maintenance for all of the municipality’s graveyards as the number of actual cemeteries throughout the municipality would be pushing 100.