Group restores old pioneer cemetery

A UNIQUE community event is coming up soon as adult workers restore the Old Pioneer Cemetery in Terrace.

A UNIQUE community event is coming up soon as adult workers restore the Old Pioneer Cemetery.

The seven workers have been busy working on the cemetery for a month now and will hold a special day for the public to see their work and remember the history of those buried there, said Crystal Zaharchuk, program coordinator at Terrace and District Community Social Services Employment Services.

The program helps adults transition into employment or training, paid for by the Targetted Initiative for Older Workers job skills training, with money from the federal and provincial governments.

Local historian Yvonne Moen gave them the idea after talking to Zaharchuk about it and showing the group around the cemetery while telling them about the history of it.

“It was pretty run down so we kind of got a good feeling with it and decided ‘yeah we’ll restore it and bring it back to life,” said Zaharchuk, adding the group received some donations from businesses like Canadian Tire and Rona who provided work supplies.

“They’re creating a perimeter around all the stones and then are clearing the trail behind it.”

Restoration includes cleaning out the sites so the details of the cemetery stones can be seen again, said Zaharchuk.

“One of my guys is taking every stone out, taking the moss out and putting all the stones back in, clearing the moss away so people could read them and creating a perimeter around it all,” she said, adding grass was growing and closing in around the stones.

Some of the restoration includes getting rid of graffiti.

City workers still cut the grass at the cemetery as they always have done, said Zaharchuk, adding the program wouldn’t do it because it doesn’t take jobs away from others.

The group has been working on the cemetery for so long now because it’s such detailed work, she said.

The “cemetery day” will take place tentatively from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 26 for the public to come hear about the history of the individuals buried there, have lemonade and just enjoy the beauty of the location.

“We’re trying to create a bit of an afternoon to see what they’ve done and enjoy the work put into the project as well as learn about history and visit long gone, and not forgotten, people.”

That includes veterans from the First World War and Second World War, founder of Terrace George Little and the immigrants who worked on the railway, she said.