Question of the week - November 3, 2017

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In the Oct. 27 edition of the Banner & Press, we asked for your opinion on the future of the perpetual care program at Neepawa’s Riverside Cemetery.  Here are the replies we received.  Thank you for sharing your views. A new question will appear in the Nov. 11 edition of the Neepawa Banner & Press.

I think it would be beneficial if the town office laid out all of the expenses of program according to the Neepawa Cemetery by-laws. Many Neepawa citizens have no idea what is involved in looking after the flower program. How much do the actual flowers cost? How many man hours does it take to plant the flowers? How many man hours does it take to water the flowers? How many man hours does it take to weed the flowers? How many man hours does it take to remove the flowers? What is the average wage of the personnel who does the jobs mentioned above? Calculate the actual cost total as per the above. How much in the way of interest does the principal generate in one year? What is the shortfall in revenue to support the program? What amount is the principal and where is it invested and at what rate of interest?

The problems are twofold:
In the early 1950's, people paid a one time $25 for what turns out to be over 65 years of flowers. My family paid $50 in 1957 and have received 60 years worth on our plot. Interest rates have dropped dramatically and the principal doesn't earn the same amount as it did earlier. Certainly not enough to maintain the flower program as earlier. Do the people of Neepawa know of unforeseen problems having happened such as receiving a shipment of contaminated soil full of weeds? Or about late Spring freezes spoiling a partial shipment of flowers? Some suggestions have been to reduce the flowers by covering 1/2 the plot with grass. This still might have a 'full look' to it. Regarding the Military graves....Perhaps the Legion and/or the Neepawa Air Cadets could generate a fund raising campaign and the cadets could plant and maintain them. NACI students could be asked to volunteer. I'm sure some would be interested. Maybe some credits could be given to those who participate. I'm curious as to whether or not the town office is still selling PC or are they putting the program on hold until a decision has been made? How many flowers did the program start out with? When did it get reduced to 18, 15, 12 flowers per plot & will it be reduced further to 9, 6, 3? What are the alternatives if the flower program is discontinued and what would be the costs involved ? For example, if the decision is made to 'grass over' the plots how much would it cost to ensure the ground was level and sod was laid evenly? Personally, I have mentioned to several people who are going to Neepawa to make sure they check out the beautiful cemetery while there. I know there are many people, like me, who are very proud of the cemetery. It is probably one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the Prairies. Those are my comments. Good luck with your decision going forward.
Rick Sparling

I did not pay $800 for two years of flowers. Sorry, but a little beautiful flowers in our cemetery is a peaceful area and lots of visitors! If they wish to go to grass, I will be wanting a substantial refund.
Brenda Madill

I was appalled at the state of Riverside Cemetery this summer. I visited my dad’s grave three times and never was it up to the standards of years ago. Neepawa could boast about our beautiful flowers and state of our families last place of rest. Perpetual care was paid for the quality of planted flowers and manicured grounds. A refund indeed would be fair although I wish it would just remain one of the most pretty cemeteries in the westman region.
Patty Andriechuk

My opinions on the cemetery remain the same. It is no longer sustainable with today’s wages aand staff and I would like to see grass not flowers and maybe a few pots at the entrance.
Donna Gall

This is very sad. Yes, we were featured in magazines because of its beauty, but that beauty spoke volumes of the respect and care given to the resting places of the many in the cemetery. It is a big job to care for I know, but many people paid for perpetual care in good faith. I’d rather see a pretty resting place than a refund.
Lisa Walsh

Known across country for the flowers on our family graves.
Linda Eng

I’d sooner see a colourful resting place instead of just green grass.
Sharon Petch

Really, what I believe this comes down to is how much is this element of “perpetual care” worth to those who have or will have relatives interned there worth. I get it, what the grieving family monetarily contributes is only only one revenue line. It costs much more to have all of the “pretty” than than those dollars equal. Property taxes, special levies, etc. are the lions share of the financial resources. How much is everyone prepared to step up for?
Bob Archer

It would be sad if there where no flowers on the family graves.
Tammy Darling

It is a big issue but it’s also a business decision. Where will the money come from for the cost and also there wasn’t a supplier who could supply the whole tender!!!! Yes the Neepawa cemetery has been noted for it’s beauty and we have taken many many visitors to see this beautiful resting spot BUT if it cannot be financed by the Town—what are some of the options?Food For Thought!
Darlene Gillies

Neepawa’s Cemetery is one of the town’s only tourist attractions.. I hope it stays beautiful. My grandpa was a previous caretaker and he took great pride in the way the cemetery looked. Hopefully it can be maintained in someway. Not sure what the answer is.
Dana Menzies