Town of Castor approves changes to cemetery bylaw Jan. 11

Castor community sign. ECA Review/T.Huxley
Stu Salkeld
Written by Stu Salkeld

Castor town council approved changes to its cemetery bylaw after gathering input from other communities. 

The decision was made at the Jan. 11 regular meeting of council, streamed through Facebook to meet pandemic guidelines.

Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee presented councillors with a report on Bylaw 1083, the Cemetery Bylaw, and noted the tweaked bylaw had already passed first reading. 

One noteworthy change to the bylaw was increasing the height of monuments from 18 inches to 30 inches.

As part of being more flexible considering the request for headstones, at the cemetery, administration reviewed a number of different communities for changes,” stated Robblee in his report to council.

“Council passed the first reading of the cemetery bylaw, but upon the second and third readings instructed administration to provide more comparisons to the ‘trinkets’ section. 

Administration pulled cemetery bylaws from eight (8) different communities and found all had a similar or the same section.”

Trinkets would be items left by mourners or family members on graves in memory of their loved ones.

Robblee normally provides councillors with a note regarding what budget implications, if any, certain decisions may have. 

“There is no budget implication other than a labour commitment if staff are required to move trinkets consistently,” stated the CAO.

This subject came up at Castor council a few months ago, as there were community concerns voiced to the town that requirements for things like grave markers were too onerous and resulted in some grave markers being rejected, and that relaxing things like the size of grave markers would be the right thing to do.

The CAO provided councillors with several options, including leaving the existing bylaw in place or “Council could choose to approve the bylaw and enable regular approvals/rejections to resume.”

The CAO noted that town staff would only remove trinkets because the items are blocking the walking trail.

Mayor Richard Elhard asked if the town has to remove trinkets, what happens to them?

Robblee answered that the Town of Castor will store the trinkets for a year so that whoever left them at the grave can claim them; if they’re held longer than a year, they’ll be disposed of.

Mayor Elhard noted there are a lot of trinkets left at grave sites in the cemetery.

“There’s a lot of stuff out there, yeah,” agreed Robblee.

He also noted that all communities he examined have size restrictions on grave markers and the restrictions Castor was proposing would be considered about average.

Councillors passed second and third reading of the revised cemetery bylaw.

Marker too big?

Later in the meeting councillors considered a request for a monument under the revised bylaw. They decided to leave it up to administration to handle it.

The applicant had requested a monument 24 inches high by 48 wide by 24 deep, while the newly approved bylaw allowed 30 inches high by 42 wide by 21 deep.

 

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.

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