Headstones at Cliffside Cemetery in Enderby were damaged by heavy machinery, Jan. 27, 2020. (Photo: Eva Morris/Facebook)

‘Very disrespectful’: Headstones at Okanagan cemetery damaged by excavation crew

Headstones at Enderby’s Cliffside Cemetery mistakenly driven over by excavation crew

Enderby residents have expressed outrage after damage was done at the local cemetery by crews working with heavy equipment.

Eva Morris posted a photo to Facebook Monday showing headstones covered in tire treads at the cemetery.

“The gravestones are all out of place,” Morris wrote along with the photo. “Very disrespectful in my eyes.”

The City of Enderby said the equipment was required for a burial.

“Both the city and its equipment operators regret deeply when this happens,” a statement read.

The Facebook post garnered more than 100 comments, with many residents mentioning passed loved ones whose headstones reside in the cemetery.

In response, Enderby chief administrative officer Tate Bengston said the damage was done by an excavation crew that was working in a section of the cemetery that’s tricky to access.

“The crew is extremely careful to be respectful in the cemetery,” said Bengston in a response posted on the original Facebook post.

“Heavy equipment access is required to the middle of a large block of plots for an excavation. Unfortunately, this area cannot be reached by the cemetery’s access roads, so a pathway had to be cleared through the heavy snow to enable equipment to reach the site.”

The City of Enderby said it cares about “maintaining the cemetery as a respectful resting place for loved ones.”

“Ground disturbance is avoided as much as possible in the cemetery,” the prepared statement reads. “Efforts are made to minimize the impact of equipment necessary for cemetery operations.”

But ground disturbance may still occur, according to the city.

“Particularly when soil is saturated with moisture and becomes very soft.”

Restoration work takes place following any incident involving ground disturbance, the city said.

“And there is a review to ensure that no further damage inadvertently occurs.”

Bengston noted repairs will be made once the ground firms up in the coming months.

“The ground is extremely soft and saturated, which causes ruts while the snow is cleared,” the CAO said. “As the work gets completed in the next day, the ground will be leveled then restored later in the spring.”

“My friend’s just devastated,” said Furlong, upon hearing the headstones of family members had been run over and damaged. Furlong said she estimates the damage could cost as much as $10,000.

The City of Enderby said its committed to reviewing its practices to identify any improvements that may further reduce ground disturbance or damage.

READ MORE: Melted snow uncovers problematic potholes in Vernon

READ MORE: Heavy snowfall in the Shuswap raises roof concerns


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

graveyard

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COLUMN | Waste carts

Columnist Andre Carrel talks about garbage collection in Terrace

Officials for Mills Memorial Hospital replacement project named

Project is estimated to cost $450 million

Letter to the editor: I stand with them

Hazelton resident shares his perspective on why he supports the Wet’suwet’en

Terrace cab stolen, found destroyed along Hwy 16 riverbank at rest stop

Driver was sent to Prince Rupert hospital after stealing the running vehicle from company lot

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for end of police patrols

Temporary closure of field office not enough to meet demands

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Most Read