Province investigates possible unmarked graves in Lower Sackville

·2 min read
Flowers and a sign mark the area of a possible unmarked burial site near First Lake. (CBC - image credit)
Flowers and a sign mark the area of a possible unmarked burial site near First Lake. (CBC - image credit)

The province is investigating the possibility there are unmarked graves between a trail and a boat launch along First Lake in Lower Sackville, N.S.

The local MLA said family approached him in April. He arranged for archeologists to examine the area.

"There's indentations and unsettled areas, so, in their opinion, it's quite possible," said Steve Craig. "The main thing here is protecting and respecting a cemetery area."

The Cobequid Road United Baptist Church is located not far from the site. Church officials have confirmed the area was used for baptisms and burials.

In fact, there is already a fence around a historic church cemetery that is on the other side of the trail. Should graves along the shoreline be verified, the boat launch would have to close.

Steve Lawrence/CBC
Steve Lawrence/CBC

"Once a site is a cemetery, it can be nothing else," said Paul Russell, the area councillor. "If an investigation shows that's a cemetery, then it can no longer be a boat launch."

Burial sites are covered by the provincial Monument and Cemetery Protection Act.

The Friends of First Lake Society, which has managed access to the boat launch, has posted on its website that "the gate is currently locked pending resolution of property issues and access issues," and "the province and HRM are seeking alternative boat launch arrangements."

Steve Lawrence/CBC
Steve Lawrence/CBC

Russell confirmed he and Craig have looked at a number of locations, but haven't found a suitable option.

"It has to have the right slope, the right distance, traction and once you get into the lake, you need the right depth," said Russell. "It can't be too shallow."

The boat launch is not the main issue for Craig.

"People do have other access points to the lake," he said. "But human remains have to be respected and that's the key here."

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