Widow of former Maple Ridge councillor upset at state of cemetery

Gail Day said she was ‘appalled’ at the poor state of upkeep of the cremation section of the Maple Ridge Cemetery. (Ronan O’Doherty/ THE NEWS)
Many grave markers in the cremation section of the Maple Ridge Cemetery were covered in soil. (Ronan O’Doherty/ THE NEWS)
Director of Parks and Facilities, Valoree Richmond, said moles are to blame for piles of dirt on grave markers at Maple Ridge Cemetery. (Ronan O’Doherty/ THE NEWS)

Gail Day has been visiting the Maple Ridge Cemetery since her eldest son’s ashes were buried there in 1975.

The widow of former Maple Ridge councillor, Ernie Day, said she took a trip there with her daughter and granddaughter this Thursday to observe the fourth anniversary of her husband’s death.

She noted she was ‘appalled’ to see the cremation section where the two are interred was in the worst condition she had seen it in for over 40 years.

“I was disgusted, I was heartbroken, and my daughter and I were almost in tears,” she said.

“The place was a mess.”

READ MORE: Heritage home toppled in Maple Ridge Cemetery

Day said it looked like the grass in the cremation area had not been mowed for several weeks.

“It had grown over some of the headstones completely,” she said, adding many of the headstones were covered in dirt.

“I think a lot of people, who have loved ones in there would be just as appalled as we were.”

On Friday afternoon, the grass in the cemetery – which is over 16 acres in size – appeared to have been recently mowed, and some landscape work had been performed around the cremation section.

There were still piles of dirt over many grave markers, however.

Maple Ridge’s Director of Parks & Facilities, Valoree Richmond, said that the additional soil might be due to some pesky critters.

“This cremation section, from time to time, does experience higher levels of mole activity and when this occurs a pest contractor attends to the issue,” she said.

“After this, the small mounds of soil caused by moles are then re-levelled.”

She noted in response to Day’s complaint, cemetery staff have levelled the mole hills and re-edged the markers.

Richmond said the cemetery’s cremation section 1, where Day’s family plots are located receives a similar level of maintenance to other areas of the cemetery.

“The grass was very recently mowed and trimmed throughout the cemetery, with this cremation area mowed and trimmed [on Friday],” she said.

“With the unusual rainy start to the summer and continuing through July, the grass – which is typically dormant at this time – has required additional efforts to keep maintained.”



ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

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