A Nanaimo man is calling on the City to unearth numerous grave markers buried near a local cemetery.
Pat Squire has lived near the Bowen Road cemetery for 30 odd years and has known about countless headstones and grave makers that were tossed aside over the years.
He says it was done because of a city policy and he is now asking that the markers be unearthed and restored.
“If you’re going to do that then you must treat what you’ve removed with respect and that’s where the big downfall was. They were literally dumped like garbage and over the years they’ve been buried” Squire told CHEK News.
He says he was told that a City policy dating back as far as the 1960’s meant many of the broken or obtrusive grave stones and markers were simply removed and not replaced.
“It’s not just a headstone but granite markers with corner posts would mark the actual, where the grave was. Took them all out strictly for the purpose of making it easier to mow the lawn” he added.
In one area beside the cemetery on City property the old pieces are buried in dirt and overgrown by blackberry bushes.
“There’s a good chance if I turn that one over there might be an inscription on it. That might be the bottom side of it” said Squire as he bent over one concrete marker buried by dirt and plants.
Not far away, in another spot are completely recognizable names and dates and stories to tell.
“This lady was born in Russia. She was born in 1903, died in 1955 I believe” said Squire.
And then another memorial of some kind to fallen workers.
“So here we have unique piece of history, could be unique to Nanaimo and it’s just tossed out” he added.
The City says the markers were removed over the years as they were replaced with ones that lay flat on the ground but acknowledge the way they were discarded needs to be corrected.
“So what we’re doing right now is we’re going back and looking at those markers and we’re trying to match those up with to ensure that those are indeed markers that have been replaced and that they are then surplus markers” said Geoff Goodall, Director of Engineering and Public Works for the City of Nanaimo.
Squire says he would like to see a new memorial made out of those discarded markers.