Changes to the rules around one of Waterloo’s cemeteries have attracted concerns from some quarters – but the city says the changes are solely a response to a problem they have yet to face.

The city’s new cemetery bylaw is expected to be in place by September. Among other things, it requires permission for anyone looking to take photographs or video at Parkview Cemetery on University Avenue.

That clause caught the attention of the genealogical community, which often uses photographs of headstones for documentation purposes.

Charlene Herbert, a genealogical hobbyist, says she often decides to head out to a cemetery on the spur of the moment – sometimes at hours when a manager might not be around to give her permission to use her camera.

“I don’t know what they’re wanting to do about it,” she says.

“Are they going to take all my information away? Are they going to fine me?”

City officials say the intent of the rule was never to stop the activities of genealogists and researchers, or to make them more difficult.

Bryce Crouse, Waterloo’s manager of cemetery services, says people like that can consider things “business as usual” the next time they show up at a city cemetery.

“What we’re asking is that people just continue with the current practice they have,” he said in an interview.

According to Crouse, the new rule is intended more for film crews or other groups of that nature – groups that the city is currently powerless to do anything about.

“We’re trying to make sure that we have some teeth behind our bylaw, so we can refuse certain ones that may not be putting the cemetery and the families in the best light,” he said.

Crouse said any group would have to be proposing something “completely out of bounds” for the city to deny permission to film in a cemetery. He also said the city has never had a case of someone looking to film for a purpose that would fit that criteria.