I would like to apologize to all people affected by the recent removal of all personal offerings and belongings from the gravesites at the Canyon View Cemetery in Summerland.
The decision to strictly enforce the Cemetery Bylaw and remove these items was a mistake as it did not take into account the emotional impact the removal would have on loved ones.
It was also an error in judgement not to advise council that the removal of items was being contemplated as I am certain if council was properly advised they would not have allowed the removals to proceed.
To ensure that this type of event is not repeated, we will be amending the Cemetery Bylaw to make it easier to read and understand and to allow more flexibility in the interpretation. We will be preparing a policy that outlines the procedures for maintaining the cemetery and an information pamphlet that can be handed out to the public.
We will also be providing training for staff to ensure they understand their responsibilities.
Although the documents will be prepared by staff, we will be soliciting input from the public and will be bringing the proposed documents and the public’s input forward to council for consideration.
I realize we cannot expect forgiveness as the depth of pain this event has caused is simply unforgivable. I would however ask that you consider accepting my sincere apology and my assurance that the required changes will be made to prevent this type of event from ever happening again.
Director of Engineering and Public Works