Sun | Jan 16, 2022

Hanover faces burial site challenges

Published:Friday | April 23, 2021 | 12:12 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

WITH THE public cemeteries now running out of space and backyard burials all but completely outlawed, residents in Hanover are becoming increasingly worried about what will become of deceased persons in the near future, if this grave situation is not resolved quickly.

The situation is particularly concerning in the eastern section of the parish, where the premier cemetery in Hopewell, which is also used by persons from neighbouring St James, is seemingly only a few funerals away from being completely filled out.

In raising concern about the situation in Hopewell at the recent monthly meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC), president of the Hanover Parish Development Committee (HPDC), Petra Foster, says she is constantly being bombarded with questions about what is happening at that cemetery.

HOPEWELL CEMETERY

“A real concern coming out of Hopewell is that the citizens are concerned about the Hopewell cemetery. They are saying that it’s over 10 years since the Sandy Bay cemetery was declared full and subsequently closed, and permission was given by the HMC for burials from that area to be done in the Hopewell cemetery,” said Foster, in suggesting that the HMC is not doing enough to establish an alternative cemetery for the Sandy Bay area.

Sandy Bay, a fishing village located approximately six kilometres from the town of Hopewell, is one of the larger communities in the western parish and its former cemetery was shared with several adjoining districts.

“The residents of Hopewell and its adjoining districts are fearful that burial spots at the Hopewell cemetery are getting less, so they are wondering what they are expected to do with their family members when they are deceased, as it is obvious that the Hopewell cemetery will be full soon,” explained Foster, as she urged the HMC to address the situation urgently.

Devon Brown, the councillor for the Hopewell division, said he was fully behind the sentiments expressed by Foster, adding that something needs to be done urgently as it relates to the Hopewell cemetery.

“We do not want to sit back and wait until the cemetery is closed in its entirety,” said Brown, who urged the HMC to immediately make representation to the owners of lands adjoining the cemetery with a view of purchasing additional lands to expand the cemetery.

INFORMAL SETTLERS

Checks by The Gleaner have revealed that some available lands in proximity to the Hopewell cemetery are now being occupied by informal settlers.

However, according to Brown, some of the occupied lands are not suitable for burials as it is rocky terrain, but there are also suitable sections which could be used if the settlers are removed.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the HMC David Gardner says ongoing discussions are taking place at the HMC in regard to the situation at the Hopewell cemetery. He went on to ask the HPDC chairman to assist the corporation in identifying the owners of lands adjoining the cemetery, so that the process of seeking to acquire the lands can be initiated.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that the matter of the Hopewell cemetery has been raised with the HMC, as back in 2018, the Hopewell Citizens’ Association also brought the matter to public attention.