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South Okanagan

Cemetery upgrades

The final resting place for generations of Naramata residents is expected to get a facelift in the months ahead.

A committee, comprised of citizens and RDOS Naramata director Karla Kozakevich, is involved with the Naramata Cemetery beautification project, which will bring changes for the better to the location on Bartlett Road.

"I think it is an issue of respect for past members of the community and current members who want to visit a loved one," said Kozakevich."It should be a beautiful place to go."

Naramata artist Dennis Evans and his wife Patricia Evans approached the RDOS with their concerns about the state of the cemetery last year.

The couple, who have visited cemeteries all over North America and Great Britain, noticed it was in a neglected state on their frequent walks.

"We residents of Naramata pay taxes for cemetery maintenance and operation and we felt it was insulting to people who have family buried there to see it like that," said Dennis Evans.

Among the problems were part of the property was being used by the RDOS public works department for storage, the   fence had fallen down and  there appeared to be a lack of maintenance.

Kozakevich said she was immediately responsive and $10,000 from the Rural Projects Budget has been set aside to make upgrades this year.

The gravel,dirt and water pipes left by the public works department were moved to a location behind the Naramata Fire Hall. 

Plans are in place for a three foot high stone fence at the entrance on Bartlett, incorporated into the fence will be a piece of granite slab donated by the Naramata Citizens Association with the words Naramata Cemetery written on it.

Additional fencing is slated for the back corner, because there have been issues with illegal dumping at the

cemetery. The fence will have a locked gate to prevent the dumping. The gate will open for funerals.

The Evans are pleased to see work at the cemetery, which is more than 100 years old, underway.

"Once the stone fence is built, it will be something beautiful and permanent in the community," said Patricia Evans. "It will be such an improvement over what is there."

In addition to the physical work, Georgeen Janzen, also on the committee, is working on a cemetery plot database project, involving attaching family information to who is buried there.

In Penticton, there is $1,000 in the city's 2013 budget for headstone maintenance at the historic Fairview Cemetery.

Lakeview Cemetery is slated for more upgrades, mostly related to infrastructure. For example, $15,000 is in place for road repair, according to Simone Blais, communications officer for the city.

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