Cemeteries are considered sacred places so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that conditions at Vernon’s Pleasant Valley Cemetery are causing significant concern.
Mayor Akbal Mund is not impressed with the weeds and dead grass and neither are many residents based on Facebook comments.
“Our family deserves better for sure,” wrote one person.
Another stated, “No lawn, just weeds. It is disgusting.”
People pay substantial sums to have their loved ones interned at the cemetery so they expect a high level of landscaping.
Obviously a review by city staff of current conditions and possible upgrades is welcome, but why is this necessary after similar public complaints arose last summer and an extra $28,000 was pumped into the 2016 budget to expand irrigation?
Mund is fully aware of the optics.
“We put more money in so the last thing we need is people saying, ‘Where is it?’” he said.
Obviously there isn’t a bottomless pit of cash to operate the cemetery and no one wants fees to skyrocket, but the city needs to reconcile financial prudence with the realization that public emotions are inherently linked to the cemetery. Simply reducing irrigation because of a revenue drop is not good enough.
It will be interesting to see what recommendations staff bring to council May 24, but the bottom line is that the city needs to address community concerns about the cemetery once and for all.