Church apologizes for no notice on levelling monument

In this Monday, Aug. 14, 2017 supplied photo, a front-end loader scoops up the rubble of what was a monument to Cornwall settlers at the corner of Sixth Street East and Sydney Streets. The church has apologized for giving no notice to the public of its plan to demolish the monument. (Supplied via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – The head of St. John’s Presbyterian Church has apologized for tearing down a cemetery monument with no notice to the public.

In an open letter to the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, the Rev. Ian Johnston said the monument had fallen into “grave state of disrepair” and there were liability concerns should someone get hurt.

Recently, there have been reports of children playing on the hollow circa 1932 structure at the corner of Sixth and Sydney Streets.

The decision to tear down the monument had evidently been in the works since 2016 – a decision made by the committee of St. John’s Presbyterian Church.

The church plans to put up a memorial in its place to remember the dead, some of whom may still be buried there, according to local historian Sara Lauzon. Most of the bodies were exhumed and reburied in other local cemeteries.

In the letter, Johnston said there are no plans to sell the land nor build anything on it.

According to the church, a couple of the headstones were salvaged, while all the others on the monument were photographed.