When Valley East was amalgamated into the City of Greater
Sudbury on January 1, 2001, apparently there was a great deal of concern
among municipal administrators about the need to "standardize"
policies that were in existence at the time of amalgamation.
Each of the seven municipalities had bylaws that were unique to their
own particular situations and which had been in place for many years.
In 2003, a new bylaw was passed to standardize cemetery services in the
City of Greater Sudbury.
One of the changes made a bit of sense in that monuments from now on
are to be placed back to back in order to give operators more room to cut
the grass. Because of this, it was decided that inscriptions would only be
allowed on one side of a monument. This means that if a person decides to
pay to have a special inscription placed on the back of a monument, he
will have to get it shaved off in order to place it in one of the City
Cemeteries. The new bylaw also restricts the size of monuments to a
maximum of 48 inches high and 60 inches wide for a double plot. Monument
dealers are generally the only ones who are aware of the new bylaw and
would inform people when they were selecting their monuments.
A number of residents have expressed concern with this type of bylaw,
asking why it is so important to the City that inscriptions only be
allowed on one side of the monument.
Al Sizer, the city's manager of Cemetery Services explained that there
was a need to standardize the policies at the City cemeteries by
regulating the size of monuments and the inscriptions. He claimed that
"if inscriptions were allowed on the rear side of tombstones, large
monuments could eclipse or obscure smaller headstones."
While it is true that there have been very few complaints about this
new policy, the people who have expressed concern have a point. What was
wrong with the old policy that stood in place for so many years? What
business is it of the City to regulate what is written on a monument?
Others say that this is just another example of the City interfering in
a matter that should be none of its business.
Many ratepayers are expected to raise this concern during the upcoming
municipal election campaign.