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.