Roadside memorials must be maintained

New policy puts no time limit on tributes to the deceased

Roadside memorials will continue to be permitted on Abbotsford roadways as long as they’re properly maintained and don’t pose a safety hazard.

Council approved a new policy on Monday to deal with such memorials on city land. The city was spurred to deal with the issue after a resident visited council in 2015 with concerns about memorials’ impact on home values and driving safety.

The new policy doesn’t include a time limit for how long a memorial can remain on site, but it requires them to be properly maintained.

The policy also prohibits memorials that encroach on the use of roads, sidewalks or bike lanes. They also shouldn’t cause a “significant distraction to motorists.”

Memorials can be removed if they aren’t maintained, or if the city needs to undertake construction or maintenance of its property.

The policy originally required contact information be provided at the site, so city staff could follow up or contact a memorial’s overseers in case it needed to be removed. That provision was removed at the request of council, with Coun. Patricia Ross citing concerns about privacy of grieving families.