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Amend cemetery clean up bylaw

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September 17, 2015

Dear Mayor Spence, 

I am writing this letter today to express my frustration with a new bylaw. The City of Warman recently approved bylaw 2015-16, which concerns the cleanup of our cemetery. It states that all items, including silk flowers, solar lights, and personal remembrance items that have been placed in the cemetery during the spring and summer months must be removed by September 20, 2015.

I lost my dad to Cancer when I was only 20 years old. On the day of his funeral a friend brought 4 metal butterflies to his grave to represent each of his daughters. The butterflies were staked into the ground and gave us peace as we said goodbye.  Today, over 11 years later, these butterflies still line his grave.  They have withstood wind, rain and snow and bring a smile to my face each time I visit his grave. They help me find him in the winter when his gravestone is covered in snow. These butterflies also have meaning to my children and my nieces and nephews – none of who were fortunate enough to meet their grandfather. They invoke conversation about my dad, his memory, and his love as we miss him and remember.

I do understand that the cemetery is the property of the City of Warman, but I do not agree with a bylaw that forces loved ones to remove personal remembrance items from a gravesite. Some people have solar lights – maybe it was a child who was afraid of the dark; some people have silk flowers – which, in my opinion look prettier and last much, much longer than real flowers; and some people have personal remembrance items – like myself. Each of these items has a memory and they should be cherished and respected. 

According to a recent Facebook post by the City of Warman, all items that are not removed by the September 20, 2015 deadline will be removed by the city and kept for a period of two weeks before being disposed of. This fact makes me sad. I’m sad that the city seems to have no concern for the feelings of its residents. I’m sad that the city shows no compassion for its residents and the memories that we keep by our loved ones graves. I’m sad that had I not noticed the Facebook post in time, my memories would have been simply disposed of like garbage. Personal remembrance items are not garbage. Decorating a grave is not unclean. And most of us do, in fact, clean our loved ones gravesites and visit when there is snow on the ground.

My hope for writing this letter is to have bylaw 2015-16 reconsidered and amended. I do believe it is important to keep a cemetery clean, but I do not think that you do this by forcing residents to remove all personal remembrance items for the winter months. Remembrance items should be able to be displayed all year long.

Thank you for taking the time to address my concerns.



Jacquie Pollock


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