Vernon’s Pleasant Valley Cemetery is getting some much-needed attention.
After numerous public complaints about weeds and dead grass, council agreed Tuesday to pump $70,000 into grass repairs this year.
“Those are taxpaying citizens resting there and it’s total disrespect that we allowed the cemetery to get to that level,” said Coun. Dalvir Nahal.
Coun. Bob Spiers also agrees that something needs to be done to address public concerns.
“If we have a cemetery, we should run it at the service level that’s expected,” he said.
“Apparently it was in a disgraceful condition.”
Problems at the cemetery began in 2015 when a $93,000 shortfall in revenue was anticipated because of a reduction in plot sales and interments. That resulted in a number of service cuts, including trimming labour and water use.
“Unfortunately, large sections of turf area did not recover following the reduced irrigation in 2015,” said James Rice, public works manager, in a report.
The $70,000, which will come from reserves, will go towards weed control, levelling plots and memorial markers, hydro seeding all damaged areas and monitoring irrigation water during germination. There will be a second application of fertilizer in the fall.
“Although the repairs can be completed immediately, it will take one to two full growing seasons (spring 2018) for the site to recover to historic levels,” said Rice.
City staff will issue a request for proposals for the development of a cemetery master plan, which will be included for consideration in the 2017 budget process.
Nahal insists there is a need to ensure that a certain standard of landscaping is maintained in the future.
“We need to put it into the budget. This needs to be a priority,” she said.