The site of the Allbury family’s graves, where Marilyn Allbury’s husband Tony’s grave marker lies. She wants people to know that grave ornaments are no longer permitted at Mt. Ida Cemetery, because she was surprised by the new city bylaw. Signs will be going up. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Shuswap widow shocked after ornament taken from grave

Woman doesn’t want anyone to be surprised like she was before signs are posted

A change to a city policy on grave ornaments was a shock to a city resident, so she’d like to make sure other cemetery visitors are aware.

As of Aug. 1, no ornaments or decorations are allowed on grave sites at Mt. Ida Cemetery.

Staff explained to council on Aug. 26 that many personal items were being left at the cemetery, making it problematic for the groundskeeper to mow properly.

They said when the new bylaw was being drafted, funeral homes and the caretaker were consulted. Through those discussions, as well as with a consultant who deals with cemeteries all over Canada, staff learned that not permitting decorations is the norm across Canada.

The bylaw also applies to Shuswap Memorial Cemetery.

Read more: Grand opening held for new Shuswap Memorial Cemetery

Read more: Bear pays respects at Okanagan cemetery

Read more: Memorial plaques stolen from Okanagan cemetery

However, Marilyn Allbury, who had left two ornaments at the cemetery, one on her late husband Tony’s plaque, an angel carrying a puppy, and a larger dog ornament watching from his parents’ adjacent grave marker as protection, was surprised when she found them missing.

After some looking she discovered where all the decorations had been put, but the larger ornament had already gone astray.

Allbury wrote a letter to the city and has since received an apology from staff regarding not being informed ahead of time.

Signs are going to be posted so everyone will be aware.

“I did appreciate getting the phone call and that it did go to city council,” she says.”I was happy to get acknowledgement.

“I don’t want to chastise them now as they have apologized, but I want people to be aware, not to put ornaments there.”

She admits she does feel sad that everything looks so bare now at the cemetery.

@SalmonArm
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