By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Wallaceburg’s Riverview Cemetery is getting some long-awaited improvements.
At its July 12 meeting, Chatham-Kent council approved a $348,529 tender from Elric Contractors to update the roadways within the cemetery.
Council also heard that the municipality and contractor will work together to make sure the needs of families are accommodated during interments or ceremonies prior to the Nov. 1 targeted completion date.
According to Thomas Kelly, general manager of infrastructure and engineering services for the municipality, sections of the cemetery will be closed at times for construction, but staff will remain sensitive to the needs of funeral services and visitors.
“It’ll be very much a co-ordinated effort to move forward with that to ensure there’s no disruptions,” Kelly told council.
There was also discussion regarding ongoing maintenance at the cemetery.
Wallaceburg Coun. Aaron Hall said he and fellow councillor Carmen McGregor have both received feedback about unkempt grass and weeds on the cemetery grounds.
Kelly said Riverview Cemetery is among the municipal properties at the top of the priority list for grass cutting and it is entitled to 22 cuts a year.
However, he said 2021 has been an exceptionally tough year to keep up as the weather has led to perfect growing conditions for grass and weeds.
Kelly said the municipal staff will also spruce up some of areas within the municipality that have fallen into disrepair over time.
This includes two roadway roundabouts that are worse for wear, and some gardens and hedges that have been neglected.
Getting local service groups involved in the care of the cemetery is another option that could help improve the look of the cemetery, Kelly said.
“At this time we just don’t have the budget to manicure some of the flower beds that are out there,” Kelly said, adding there are many volunteer groups throughout the municipality that help look after municipal properties.
There is no specific staff employee currently designated to look after Riverview Cemetery, he said.
In years past, Kelly said Legion members carried out a lot of the work at Riverview Cemetery, but a drop in numbers has made it difficult for the organization to help as it once did.