Draft policy wouldn’t put time limits on roadside memorials

No time limits will be imposed upon people who erect roadside memorials in Abbotsford if a policy drafted by staff is approved by council.

No time limits will be imposed upon people who erect roadside memorials in Abbotsford if a policy drafted by staff is approved by council.

No time limits will be imposed upon people who erect roadside memorials in Abbotsford if a policy drafted by staff is approved by council.

In 2015, a concerned resident visited council to express concerns about the potential for memorials to obstruct the views of drivers or negatively affect real estate values.

Staff was subsequently directed to develop a policy, although Couns. Patricia Ross and Dave Loewen opposed the request. Loewen said a policy could actually encourage more memorials, and suggested the city move towards the removal of sites “in a sensitive and timely manner.”

More than a year later, staff has drafted a policy that would formalize the removal process, but put no limits on how long memorials could exist.

The policy – which is informed by rules used in Kelowna and by the ministry of transportation – requires memorials to not encroach on roads, sidewalks, or sight lines. It would also give staff the formal authority to remove a memorial “for maintenance, construction, aesthetic or safety purposes.”

It also requires memorials to be properly maintained, and gives the city the ability to remove a site if it becomes unsightly.

Memorials would need to have contact info, and staff would notify a person responsible in case of removal.

The city’s transportation advisory committee was to review the policy on Monday. It will come to council at a later date for approval.

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