Cemetery in Courtenay in grave condition

Dear editor,

The 4 July brief article by Renee Andor on Courtenay municipal burial ground was well done.

Dear editor,

The 4 July brief article by Renee Andor on Courtenay municipal burial ground was well done.

Sue and Les Hargrave are not the only people who are very disappointed with it as a place of rest for loved ones. I too find the barrage of “dont’s” and dire warnings on the entry sign most unwelcoming.

Everything you want to do is wrong. Feel like you want to return? Not much. Landscaping enhancements are close to zero. Ditto horticulture.

It is not where I would like to put any friend or family to rest or to visit my ancestors. At one time it was attractive.

When I saw it first 18 years ago it seemed bleak. Family history research has since taken me to many memorial gardens in Canada and the USA. including corporate-owned, non-profit-managed  and municipal-managed.

Except for abandoned cemeteries, Courtenay’s burial ground ranks as one of the least attractive I have  seen.

To be fair, we recognize some features introduced in the past 10 years to make it serve the community better — columnbaria, niche-spaces, scattering “garden” — and now a few memorial boulders and upright monuments. However, the new area for upright monuments on the periphery seems like a token gesture.

In contrast to Courtenay, my ancestor’s 200-year-old broken upright monument in a beautiful cemetery was repaired by the cemetery management without any request or charge.

When we look at Cumberland municipal burying ground, we see not much better. Comox municipal management is thankful not to have a cemetery for which to be responsible and Comox council is not likely interested in changing the situation.

Municipal cemetery management in the Comox Valley will probably retain the same old priorities to which the Hargraves object. If Courtenay council does not want to have a citizens’ cemetery advisory committee or to really enhance the cemetery as the Hargraves propose, then I have a suggestion.

The Hargraves and others like Mary Burke who want a welcoming, attractive, permissive, peaceful real memorial garden could form a committee to explore establishing an alternative Comox Valley cemetery owned and operated as a non-profit society.

Moving your loved ones to another resting place is not unthinkable. My ancestors’ graves were relocated about 10 kilometres from one beautiful place to another for reasons I know not. I feel they are happy where they are now.

If they cared, Courtenay could do much better in beautification and relaxing restrictions but they can never remove the BC Hydro high-voltage transmission lines.

It will never be a garden that I enjoy going though just to take a walk, or a jog in a beautiful place, or to sit and meditate and admire the horticulture. It seems like a “burial ground” one notch better than a combat zone emergency burial place.

Politicians will control it always. Administration posts photos on their cemetery website that conceal how bleak it has become in the modern era.

Bruce Archibald,


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