Trinkets stay banned at Vernon cemetery as council passes on loosening restrictions

Cemetery ban stays

Vernon council is holding fast to its ban on artificial flowers and trinkets at Pleasant Valley Cemetery.

Mayor Victor Cumming on Monday proposed a two-year pilot loosening restrictions, but he found no support among his council colleagues.

Cumming’s suggestion came as council received a memorandum from staff at Monday's council meeting that acknowledged a delegation in August requesting council revisit the ban.

A petition earlier this year opposing the ban on fake flowers and other trinkets used in personal memorials has received thousands of signatures.

Still, that hasn’t swayed councillors.

Coun. Kari Gares said she has family buried in the cemetery and knows that it’s a delicate issue.

“I can understand where the public is coming from,” she said.

“This is no easy decision when you’re dealing with those who are going to the cemetery to remember the loss of their loved ones.”

However, bans on certain items are becoming standard at cemetaries, she added.

The city said it’s a safety issue. Items left at graves can end up in the grass, where city staff can hit them while mowing or weed whacking, potentially sending them flying at people.

Staff told council there have been cases at Pleasant Valley in the past where that’s happened, though not recently.

“This does not mean that empathy is not there and that compassion is not there,” said Gares.

Coun. Brian Quiring said he had a “fundamental issue” with rolling the policy back and that there has already been a robust discussion around the policy.

From March 15 to Oct. 15 only fresh-cut floral arrangements are allowed, and between Oct. 16 and March 14, potted plants, wreaths, artificial floral arrangements, and seasonal floral tributes may be placed on plots, in approved holders.

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