If you’ve recently visited either one of the three cemeteries in Baysville you may have noticed fresh flower baskets adorning more than one hundred gravesites.
The flowers are looked after by community volunteers. It’s a difficult task: they must use water barrels as none of the cemeteries have water faucets available for watering fresh flowers.
“For the most part, the gravestones in the cemeteries have had very few adornments although some people set out plastic or silk flowers because there isn’t any water source to keep plants alive,” Cathy Vanclieaf of the Baysville Community Group told Lake of Bays council at its September 14 meeting.
She said the installation of the flower baskets was the brainchild of Shirley Burton, an octogenarian in the village who also happens to be the granddaughter of Baysville founder W. H. Brown.
She said word spread quickly and the group realized there was an overwhelming interest in honouring those who are buried in Baysville not only by those who live in the area but also by many people who live outside of the community and have family and friends who are buried in the village.
She said a significant number of people also ordered baskets for “orphaned graves” or graves that do not have any family members in the village to care for the sites. “And it wasn’t long before we had a list of over 100 graves between the three cemeteries to be decorated,” said Vanclieaf.
The cemeteries have been a busy place. Burton’s idea worked well as a way of celebrating Baysville’s 150th anniversary. The initiative also coincided with the idea to put together a self-guided walking tour of the cemeteries.
VanClieaf said volunteers have been watering the flower baskets, but having to use water barrels has been difficult. Community groups were approached to see if there would be an interest in bringing water to the cemeteries and $1,000 was raised from the community, including the Baysville Community Group, towards the addition of water at the cemeteries but Vanclieaf said she hoped council would facilitate the request.
She said she believed one water tap would be required at St. George Catholic Cemetery, one tap at St. Amrose Anglican Cemetery, and a minimum of three taps at the Community Cemetery.
“Everyone involved in this flower project has mentioned that they have encountered visitors to the graveyards who have commented about how lovely it is to see so many live flowers and it is my belief too that the sign of a good community is how we tend to those who have passed on,” she said.
“So on behalf of the Baysville Community Group whose logo is to promote, beautify and enhance the community of Baysville, I am requesting that council investigate the feasibility of bringing water into the three cemeteries in Baysville, and to make it a budget item for 2022.”
Lake of Bays Mayor Terry Glover thanked Vanclieaf and the volunteers for all the work they do in the community.
“I always was surprised that when water went in in 2000 that the current council at that time didn’t put a water source in the cemeteries when they had the ability right then and there, it would’ve been so much cheaper at the time,” said Councillor Bob Lacroix. He also said if the project is feasible and goes forward, there may be an opportunity to raise some more funds in the community towards the project.
In the end, council asked staff to look into the possibility of adding water to the cemeteries and bring back a report on the issue to the October council meeting.
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