Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review Saturday, March 20, 2021
A headstone is propped up against a tree after Waterdown residents found it lying haphazardly discarded on a slope of a hill above a ravine.
The marker was nowhere near the Union Cemetery grave site and is among those damaged by vandals this week.
Repeated acts of vandalism occurred at the Waterdown cemetery over the course of the past several days. The latest in the string of incidents happened March 19, shortly after the graffiti had been cleaned off and the damage had been repaired by the City of Hamilton.
“The damage out here is brutal,” said Garth Wetherall, a local historian whose family has been in the area since 1851.
The Hamilton Police Service believes the first instance of vandalism occurred March 14. It continued over the course of the next few nights, with vandals toppling headstones, removing grave markers and defacing graves with spray paint.
Media relations officer Const. Krista-Lee Ernst confirmed more than 25 headstones were targeted and the damage exceeded $5,000. A police investigation is ongoing.
In a statement, Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge said, “It is heartbreaking and makes me angry to hear the disgusting damage done at the Waterdown Union Cemetery, which is one of our important heritage cemeteries.”
She added, “What I just cannot fathom is why someone would want to do such disrespectful damage — at a cemetery of all places.”
The vandalism has sparked outrage among local residents, who took to social media to question why anyone would want to deface memorials — some almost 200 years old.
“It’s a special kind of person that does something like this,” noted Wetherall, who said he stood guard at the cemetery for several hours last week and ran into someone he believed was a vandal.
“I scared the s–t out of him and then he left,” he said.
But someone returned to the cemetery, located off Margaret Street, damaging and defacing more property.
“Who can go and steal gravestones from the dead and smash things and break things?” said Wetherall. “This is just warped.”