Councillor Daniel Yates the Lead councillor for life events services has released this statement on Woodvale cemetery grounds to reopen.
Earlier this month, and following government guidance on crematoria, we had to take the difficult decision to close the cemetery grounds at Woodvale to anyone except those attending a funeral. This guidance has since been updated and I am pleased to say we will be reopening the grounds from tomorrow, Wednesday 29 April.
For funerals a limit of 12 mourners at the chapels remains in place. This is to ensure guidance on social distancing can be followed. You can find out more information on our cemeteries webpages.
I understand that for many who live close by, Woodvale is an ideal place for their daily dose of exercise, but I would again urge people to treat the grounds with the respect it deserves.
Before the cemetery was closed, staff reported several incidents of people playing ball games, skateboarding, having picnics and children climbing on headstones. This is unacceptable, not to mention a health and safety risk. Cemeteries are a place for mourning, remembrance and quiet reflection, not a replacement for a park or playground.
Cemetery bylaws also state that dogs should not be walked in cemeteries.
If you are walking through Woodvale for exercise, please do so respectfully and with the quiet dignity those visiting graves and memorials deserve. Ask yourself what kind of environment you’d wish for if you were there visiting a lost loved one.
Staff will be greeting people choosing to visit the cemetery grounds. They will also be reminding visitors to use the area respectfully.
I ask once again, please use the cemetery grounds at Woodvale with respect. At such a challenging time for us all, people deserve to mourn the loss of friends and relatives in peace.