The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
By SHANE LEONARD Staff Writer Some area residents are concerned about possible neglect at Holy Cross Cemetery on Woodlawn Road in Welland. The place is full of uneven ground, so parts of the graves are flooded, says Josh Grant-Young, a student of Brock University. “It’s really disrespectful.” Grant-Young has family members buried at the cemetery. “I was there just after the snow melted, and there was trash all over fresh mounds,” says Grant-Young. “To me it’s just not right and inexcusable. These people deserve better.”
The Holy Cross Cemetery runs along Niagara Street and Woodlawn Road. A fence runs only along the Niagara Street side, leaving the entire Woodlawn side open, allowing debris to blow into the grounds. A recycling bin blew into the grounds and came to a rest in front of a headstone and was observed there. “Why aren’t the grounds completely fenced in?” asked Grant-Young. “That would at least help keep some of the garbage out.” The cemetery spans 23 acres, says John Bertoni, the grounds manager for Holy Cross Cemetery. “We can’t get to all of it [the debris] at once.” The big clean-up day is just after Easter, says Bertoni. “It’s on the churches’ bulletins and is well advertised in the church community.” Much of the disrepair observed at the cemetery came in late March after Welland was struck with a windstorm, Bertoni says. He spent half the next day cleaning up the garbage that piled up along the fence near the Canadian Tire building. “I got at least three full garbage bins just along that fence alone.” Bertoni says he encourages anyone to contact him personally with any issues. “I will be happy to address anyone’s concerns ASAP.” He can be reached at 905-734-4172. Grant-Young isn’t the only one who feels this way about the cemetery’s condition. Justine Roberts, 23, of Welland, says, “It’s probably just because of the weather, but that’s still pretty bad. I was walking by late Sunday morning and there was a juice container in front of the headstone.” It’s a lot of ground to cover though, says Roberts. “From what I’ve seen it looks OK, but I can definitely see why some people are upset.” People go there to pay their respects, not pick up garbage, says Roberts.