Vandalized gravestones repaired by Moncton company
Nelson Monuments staff repair and upright headstones knocked over by vandals at Elmwood Cemetery
A Moncton company is repairing fallen gravestones at a local cemetery after vandals left more than 100 of them knocked down and damaged.
Alison Lounsbury says the two days of repair work would have cost the struggling cemetery approximately $6,000 in labour, equipment and parts.
Ed Graham, vice president of the Elmwood Cemetery and president of the Association of New Brunswick Cemeteries, says after regular upkeep costs there isn't much left for headstone repairs.
"It's difficult and we depend on income from lot sales but if we sell a lot for $600 we don't get that $600 to go towards the operation of the cemetery. A third of every lot sold is put into a perpetual care fund."
All cemetery ground should be considered sacred ground and it's not the case.- Ed Graham, Association of N.B. Cemeteries
Lounsbury says Nelson Monuments has been making headstones for families in New Brunswick for more than 100 years, and staff felt a responsibility to help.
"Many of the stones repaired belong to people whose loved ones aren't able to cover the cost, or who don't live in the area anymore," she said.
Graham says the help to reset the fallen stones means a lot.
"It's important to have them upright and standing up not only for the people in Moncton but also for the families of the deceased and the people that are resting here. It's nice to have an upright memorial that looks nice in memory of the people that we've lost."
Perpetual care funds needed across New Brunswick
Graham says people forget that an eternal resting place requires eternal maintenance and he's seen many cemeteries that aren't planning ahead.
"We started an inventory of cemeteries in New Brunswick and I knew there were a lot of them neglected, but there's a lot neglected and a lot abandoned with I'd say, saw-log sized trees, growing up among the monuments," he said.
Graham wants regulations that would make it mandatory for all cemeteries in the province to have a perpetual care fund.
"All cemetery ground should be considered sacred ground and it's not the case."
He says without it cemeteries and those resting within them face an uncertain future.
Graham hopes the Elmwood Cemetery will have close to $1 million in the bank by the time it fills up.