Trees added to South Dundas Memorial Program

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MORRISBURG – The municipality of South Dundas has officially upgraded its Memorial Bench Program to include Memorial Trees. While the bylaw was passed during the March 22 council meeting, director of environmental services Danielle Watson introduced the issue during the Feb. 22 meeting. She said the municipality had received many requests from residents to include trees in the program. Staff then looked at similar programs in neighbouring townships and created an updated draft policy for South Dundas politicians to consider. “I think this is an amazing addition,” deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner said. “I think that it’s twofold. It builds community engagement, but it also will replenish some of the trees we’ve lost through emerald ash borer.” With unanimous support from council in February, Watson formalized the new policy, bringing it back to council with a new bylaw in March. Under the new policy, staff will keep a list of existing trees and benches, as well as a list of available spaces for potential additions. Donors must apply to the program, following the guidelines set out in the new policy. In some cases, a donor may pay for a new bench or tree and/or plaque, but in others, it may be possible to simply purchase a plaque for an existing tree or bench. Purchases are to be done through the municipal office to ensure materials are consistent throughout the township. All memorials will stay in place for a 10-year period with an opportunity to renew. South Dundas is responsible for maintaining the benches and trees. “I like the whole idea. I think it’s really great,” Coun. Archie Mellan said at the February meeting.

Sandy Casselman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chesterville Record