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Race against time: Sea erosion impacts N.S. community cemetery

The Feltzen South, N.S., community is racing to preserve its local cemetery before it’s claimed by the sea.

The Feltzen South Cemetery has sat on the edge of Nova Scotia’s south shore near Lunenburg, N.S., for more than 200 years, but it is now at a risk of disappearing.

“With the amount of storms every year, it gets worse and worse and we’re to the point where several of the coffins will soon be washed out,” explained Debbie Smith, secretary of the Feltzen South Cemetery committee.

Over the years, the lower edge of the property grounds has washed away. The cemetery was once surrounded by trees, many of which have now fallen over and hang off the property.

The committee has been pressing municipal, provincial and federal government for funding support for the last six years, but say they have been denied.

“Every place we did check we got the same response, ‘we have no money’. It’s just one after another [and] it’s the same answer wherever we go,” said Smith.

CTV News spoke with the town’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) who said the group missed a grant application deadline for this year and they can submit their application next year.

However, Smith fears next year will be too late.

“It’s getting closer and closer to the coffins all the time. It’s not good,” said smith.

In order to stop the erosion, Smith said a retaining wall is what will be needed. This will cost over $100,000 dollars, however, Smith insists that it is worth it given the alternative.

“Who wants to see their parents coffins wash out or any of your family members, and there are family members here from the 1800’s,” said Smith.

Until funding is secured, the committee will be working with the community to fundraise to save the ground which is a piece of their past and themselves.

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