News

Council to form committee to address cemetery concerns

St. Margaret
St. Margaret's Cemetery in Fernie.
— image credit: Photo by Angela Treharne

Fernie Council is putting together a select committee to address and recognize the concern that there are additional burial sites outside of St. Margaret’s Cemetery. The committee will take on the task of creating a monument to honour hundreds of people who are believed to be buried in unmarked graves within the City of Fernie.

Community members John Gawryluk and Corlyn Haarstad spoke at a committee of the whole meeting Monday morning to outline their requests to the City. The pair has spent the last 12 years gathering data and records from the Fernie and District Historical Society, the City of Fernie, B.C. archives, newspaper articles, and obituary notices. They believe that inaccurate record keeping and the improper designation of cemetery boundaries has led to the misplacement and/or removal of 392 people that died and were buried in Fernie.

Gawryluk reinforced that they are not trying to place blame on anyone, but simply move forward. “What’s done is done,” he commented. “We want to move on and get this settled and do the right thing, which is maintain and improve both cemeteries.”

Gawryluk and Haarstad asked mayor and council to assist in the creation of a monument, as well as grant them access to records in the City Hall basement to help continue their work in locating the misplaced burials. They would also like council to consider using radar technology to survey the ground in areas outside of St. Margaret’s to confirm the location of unmarked burial plots.

Gawryluk and Haarstad understand their requests come with a cost and don’t expect the City to foot the entire bill.

“There’s the Regional District [of East Kootenay], there’s Columbia Basin Trust, you can go historical, you can go so many different routes here to start searching out funding,” said Haarstad. “The applications won’t be in place until at least the fall, everybody has pretty much delegated their funding out this year already, but we’re more than ready to form that committee and start looking for funding. We don’t expect this to lie fully on the shoulders of the City at all.”

Council voted unanimously to form a select committee to deal with the issue, which will consist of at least two councillors and interested community members. City staff will put together a terms of reference for the committee, which will be brought to a future council meeting. Following council’s approval of the terms, the City will begin advertising for committee members.

 

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Security stepped up in B.C. after attacks in Ottawa
 
UPDATE: B.C. legislature to get security scanner
 
Diverse group of panelists discuss potential pros and cons of LNG in Prince Rupert
Castlegar Quilt Guild raffle a work of art
 
Minister visits with Selkirk students: Wants to catch up with tech sector in the Kootenays
 
Mayes recounts shootout on Parliament Hill

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 23 edition online now. Browse the archives.