The removal of several damaged and diseased trees from Mount Auburn cemetery has totally changed its look and has been the cause some concern in the community, but it appears it was a necessary move.
“Something had to be done as it was becoming a safety issue,” said Mayor Rick Pankiw.”We needed to mitigate the risk and that’s what we did.”
As far back as July of last year it was discovered by Ben Jones from Bushwhacker Tree Services that several of trees on the centre and south side of the cemetery should be removed because they had been topped previously and the new branches were ready to break in the centre.
Schmidt said the trees on the south side of the cemetery needed to be replaced.
“An arborist was hired last year to remove a couple of the trees that had blown over. While he was here he noticed that there were other trees that were also damaged. It’s not that I wanted to see them go, but they were a huge risk,” he noted.
In July of this year, Bushwhacker Tree Services was hired to remove the damaged trees. At that time, more damaged trees on the southwest corner of the cemetery were discovered.
These trees were removed along with three other trees, which were taken down due to aesthetic purposes.
The tree service company has now chipped the tree limbs and the chips are available at the recycle centre for residents to use in their yards.
Town staff is grinding the stumps.
The logs from the trees have been taken by Ray and Melvin Durand to be used by the Lions Club for firewood.
At its meeting, Sept. 12, council discussed the changes to the cemetery and the public’s reaction.
“A lot of people have approach me about it,” said Pankiw. “They either love it or they hate it.”
“Nobody likes change, but I have received only a couple of negative comments,” said Schmidt. “For the most part people are positive about it.”
Coun. Matt Jaycox said he has noticed people sitting on headstones smoking.
“Those headstones can’t take that,” he added.
Schmidt said the trees on the south side of the cemetery need to be replaced.
Council has contacted the cemetery board to ask them to recommend the best type of trees to plant to replace the ones that have been removed. The cemetery board will also discuss replacement trees and shrubs.
A new chain link fence has been installed.
Council had budgeted $10,000 for cemetery upgrades in its 2016 budget. So far, $6,600 has been spent.