A historic Moncton cemetery takes the brunt of frequent repairs due to regular vandalism.
When Elmwood Cemetery Superintendent Stephen Morison inspected the grounds ahead of Monday’s seasonal opening, he found that hundreds of headstones across the cemetery’s 40 acres had been knocked down.
The copper roof of the Sumner family crypt was also damaged.
He is grateful that the estimated $3,000 damage is covered by the money the Sumner family has invested in its upkeep.
“We’re a charity, not for profit, and that sort of thing would bankrupt us if we had to do it all,” Morrison said in an interview Monday.
Vandalism is an almost nocturnal event, he said, often resulting in thousands of dollars in damage.
Hundreds more headstones across Eastern Ontario have been vandalized, this time in Belleville
When Moncton resident Kim Sneath heard about the vandalism, she organized a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the cemetery where her father was buried in 2009.
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“I immediately came to make sure his headstone was in good condition, and thankfully it is.” she said on Monday.
“It’s about community, really, because it’s not just a bunch of rocks and monuments…It’s the center of Humphrey-Louisville Sunny Brae,” she said. .
With the help of the cemetery’s summer student employees, many headstones have already been repositioned, but Morison said even that can come with high costs.
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“We use a backhoe, we use our tractors, we use leverage… Then you have to level the base, then you have to lift it, straighten it with gravel, and drive it into the ground.” he said.
Some tombstones are so heavy that they require special equipment to be lifted. The Sussex company, Nelson Monuments, comes once a year to help with the very heavy monuments free of charge.
He said the small chapel on site, built in the late 1920s, is a frequent target of attempted break-ins.
He hopes the security cameras he will soon install will deter mischief, as work is underway to turn the space into a columbarium to store cremated remains.
Above all, it appeals to the community for a sense of decency.
“I have my grandfather here, my grandmother here, my great-grandfather here, my great-grandmother here, so this place is close to my heart… Everyone I spoke to in Moncton have either a parent, direct or indirect. , here.”
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