SCDA working on memorial park for three shooting victims

Rex McCoul Park in Shubenacadie is the proposed location for a memorial for three of the shooting victims. (Healey photo)

SHUBENACADIE: A proposal to create a memorial in Rex McCoul Park in Shubenacadie for three of the 22 shooting victims from the rampage on April 18-19 is getting enthusiastic reviews.

The Shubenacadie Community Development Association (SCDA) has discussed the conceptual idea that was brought forward by Shirley Peach, one of the long-time volunteers, said Al MacLeod, president of the SCDA.

“She envisioned a memorial garden being placed in the park to honour the victims,” said MacLeod. “Every one of our directors was enthusiastic about the idea and contributed to the concept.

“During the meeting we decided that three memorial benches should be placed within the memorial garden for Gina Goulet, (Enfield RCMP) Const. Heidi Stevenson, and Joey Webber.”

MacLeod said he has spoken to both Goulet and Webber’s families, who are in favour of the idea.  He has also reached out to the Stevenson family through a professional contact and hoped to be able to consult with them shortly.

“The planning is coming together quite well,” he said. “We feel a memorial should be constructed here as opposed to another location in this area. The last three victims were slain in Shubenacadie and the act of heroism by Const. Stevenson happened right in front of Rex McCoul Park.

“This is where the makeshift memorial was immediately created by the mourning public and it will forever be associated with this tragic event.

MacLeod said George Searle, a long-standing director of the SCDA, has been in contact with staff from Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to seek permission to create a 15-foot radius memorial park.  

“We have received permission from Shubenacadie United Church for use of their lot for overflow parking if needed,” he said.

McCoul Park was created in 2007 to utilize the TIR owned area as a groomed green space with recreational walking trail and a gazebo to be enjoyed by visitors. 

MacLeod said the support has been immediate from the community, including Councillor Pam MacInnis.

“We have many individuals and companies who have come forward to encourage us,” he said. “Our councillor Pam MacInnis has been incredibly supportive of this idea from the beginning.

He listed off others who have stepped up: Surveyor Alan Gallant has been assisting with creating the survey plan.  

Velocity Machining, whose owners, Sean MacPhee and Craig Langille live in the Shubie area, have stepped forward and are donating the personalized metal benches.  

Brent Keyes of KelGreg Contracting has offered their services free of charge to create the cross-trail that will feature the memorial garden.  

Ann Perry of Pro- Green Landscaping has been assisting Shirley Peach with the garden plan. 

“It takes a lot to get things done but as they say, you can accomplish so much more when people work together and cooperate,” concluded MacLeod.

MacInnis said the Municipality of East Hants had passed a motion looking at funding opportunities and locations for this memorial. She made her fellow MEH councillors aware of what the SCDA was doing and that TIR’s per mission was being sought.

She feels the best spot for such a tribute is at McCoul Park. The SCDA is well-positioned to ensure the memorial’s ongoing maintenance and upkeep, she added.

“I believe it is the proper place for this tribute,” said MacInnis in an interview on May 22.