Daughter distraught over cemetery sweep

Spring cleaning at Colwood cemetery sparks tears for one loved one

  • Mar. 13, 2013 10:00 a.m.

Shawna Goddard stands with a pile of items removed from tombstones at Hatley Memorial Gardens Cemetery. The items will be left out until the end of the month for family members to come and collect.

Piles of wreaths, artificial flowers, sculptures and trinkets brought Shawna Goddard to tears.

“When I just saw the trinkets and statues and flowers, it just broke my heart,” she said sobbing. “It’s just gut wrenching.”

Throughout the Hatley Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Colwood, tokens and wreaths left on tombstones were removed by cemetery staff.

The piles of mementos upset Goddard, because of the sentimental value of items such as the coffee mug and a child’s Hot Wheels car that now sit beside the road. Among the piles was the wrought iron sculpture Goddard placed on her fathers grave nearly six years ago.

David Robert William Goddard was buried there in 2005 and his plot is visible from the road. Goddard noticed the sculpture missing and drove in to the cemetery where she saw the piles.

She said the statue has never moved.

Bruce Simpson, cemetery manager, said spring cleanup is an annual occurrence.

“We allow artificial flowers from November to March and then after that it is just real flowers,” he explained, adding they are left in piles for loved ones to collect.

Each year Simpson said he receives one or two phone calls from angry people about this, he said next year he will try and provide the families more notice.

The cleanup is to allow the grounds workers to cut the grass and maintain the cemetery grounds. Simpson said it is standard protocol in the 41 cemeteries across Canada that the company runs.

“It’s written in out rules and regulations and on the contract people sign,” he explained.

“I am concerned for the people who don’t know this is happening,” Goddard said.  “When someone dies you don’t read the fine print.”

 

The items will be left out until the end of March for people to collect.

 

 

Just Posted

More trails coming to the Highlands

Grand opening of Electric Avenue takes place on Saturday

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

Drug Use: High school students comfortable talking about marijuana but not other drugs

Teens not always willing to make the first move to get help

Sooke Road bus pullouts now operational, says province

Pullouts are located at the West Shore Parkway, Laidlaw Road and Harbourview Road

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest fills harbour with music

Music festival wraps with free party Sunday at Ship Point

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna suspended for 75 games

23-year-old pitcher faces assault charge

How the Gorge Canada Day Picnic grew from a basement idea to a single-day event with 10,000 visitors

‘We’re going to need more food,’ among lessons from first Gorge Canada Day Picnic

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

Man brandishes axe during robbery

Mounties were able to locate the suspect within two hours of the incident

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

10 feet from home: B.C. grassfire offers stark reminder how quickly blazes burn

Kamloops woman among first people in B.C. to be told to evacuate home this wildfire season

Most Read