Sunset Palliative Care is grieving after some vandals did damage to its Memory Garden on the island in Portage la Prairie. Executive director Aldene Moroz is shocked that such a thing could be perpetrated. 

"We did an expansion of our Memory Garden over at Island Park and we finished it up last year," says Moroz. "Right now, this year, we were just finishing all of the new posts and the chain-link fence. This is the second time that we've had vandalism. A month-and-a-half ago, we had a tree as well as some wonderful junipers all dug up. They were not eaten by the deer, as sometimes we do lose a bit of plants to damage to the deer."

She notes these trees were literally dug up and taken out with shovels.  Last week, more damage was discovered to have been made by a quad having driven through the garden.

"It was pushing down the fence," notes Moroz. "We're just a little upset, of course, because this is a Memory Garden for the community to enjoy. I just don't think people realize the damage they are doing with their carelessness and having no respect for a public place. It's where many people go and enjoy the garden, and we're a nonprofit group. So, it takes a lot of fundraising and money to go into this garden."

In the last three years since they've started the expansion, they have put $175,000 of fundraising money into the project. Moroz explains the plantings, along with labour, was over $1,000.

"Now with the posts and the chain-link having to be repaired again, we're probably looking, in minimum, to about another $1,000," continues Moroz. "It's a total of $2,000 this year and that's a lot for our organization to absorb."

Damage from quad tiresDamage from quad tires and fend pushed down (photo courtesy of Sunset Palliative Care)

Moroz says it was quite insulting, noting people enjoy the garden tremendously. She explains it's the only one of its kind in Portage.

"Basically, people want to be able to grieve," says Moroz. "They want to move on to new things. The garden has helped people move from grief to a balance for a happy life, actually with renewed joy. We see people sitting in that garden all the time having coffee, tea, or hot chocolate through the seasons. Because of where the placement is, it allows people to look at Crescent Lake."

(photo courtesy of Sunset Palliative Care)Ruts caused by quad (photo courtesy of Sunset Palliative Care)

She explains they sit and watch children playing in the playground across the from the garden, and listen to the birds, and walk around.

"They start at Island Park, and they stop and they stroll through the garden. They have meaningful conversations and they reflect on those happy memories of their loved ones," adds Moroz. "That is why this garden is so important to our community." 


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