New policy will create standards for roadside memorials in Hamilton

There are many roadside memorials to victims of tragic incidents along roads and trails throughout the city of Hamilton. Mark Carcasole / Global News

Policy is being put in place to regulate the size and location of roadside memorials in Hamilton, as well as what they can contain.

The rules are within a report approved by the city’s public works committee on Monday.

According to the draft policy, locations and content of roadside memorials will be vetted for safety and messages that can be considered “offensive” will be banned, as will any sort of illumination or materials that can shatter, such as glass.

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Acting director of transportation operations and maintenance Mike Field says the rules will create some certainty for both city employees and community members who are grieving the loss of a friend or family member.

Read more: New bike lane up escarpment to be named in honour of late Hamilton cyclist Jay Keddy

“The reason why we’re putting forward a policy is that we don’t have one,” says Field. “If you’re a person, and you’re erecting one of these, there’s no point of reference for you to use.”

Existing memorials will be exempted from the policy, which must still receive final approval from Hamilton city council when it meets next Wednesday.

The policy states that new memorials should not be larger than one metre in height, length or width and can only remain in place for 18 months.

Field adds that communication will be key before memorials are either altered or removed by the city, to ensure that “sensitive discussions” take place.

Read more: As new survey circulates, grieving families renew push to protect Halifax roadside memorials

Ward 6 Coun. Tom Jackson has thanked staff for bringing forward a “delicate, thoughtful, considerate” approach.

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In developing the policy, city staff studied the standards that already exist in 13 other municipalities.

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