WEST NEW ANNAN – When Alison Hayman lost her twin sister Alisa Veno 14 years ago she was comforted by the serenity of her final resting place in Bell Gift Cemetery.
But now she is filled with heartache and anger at the disrespect rogue all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riders are showing by driving over her sister’s well-marked gravesite.
“They practically drove right over her head,” said Hayman, pointing to an ATV wheel track that is visible in the grass within 30 centimeters of her sister’s headstone.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s very disrespectful to her, and the person beside her.
“If they have no respect for the dead they have no respect for the living.”
She said in recent weeks before the snow receded there were multiple wheel tracks crossing the site, as well as the adjacent plots. While ATV wheels have not yet torn grass from the frozen ground the family fears as it thaws more damage will occur if the problem isn’t stopped.
The plot is located near a corner of a road passing through the rear of the cemetery. Several years ago Veno’s father Ed Blenkhorn erected a steel post a few meters from the gravesite marking the corner to prevent a farm tractor from continuing a habit of driving across the plot.
The sturdy post remains there today clearly marking the turn in the road, but he is frustrated and unable to understand why people are not showing his daughter respect.
“I don’t see any need of it,” he said. “The road is there. There is a whole field there too.
“It just shows how much disrespect people have for the dead.”
Cathy Shortt, Veno’s older sister, discovered the tracks during a recent visit to the grave in West New Annan.
“I cried when she told me,” said Hayman. “My feeling is what did she ever do to them that they would do this to her?
“It makes me sick to think people have a need to do this.”
The family members said ATV tracks have appeared in the past but agree this is the worst year yet.
While they explore possible solutions such as working with the cemetery caretaker to fence the back portion of the graveyard, or adding a cement bench as a deterrent, they will also be closely monitoring traffic aiming to identify the individuals responsible.