Highway artwork recognizing military veterans to be removed

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MILLER LAKE: The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) said while they appreciate the desire for people to honour Veterans with a mural on some rocks along Hwy 102 near the Aerotech exit, it will be removed.

The various artwork had previously included the Canadian flag; military symbols; RCMP; volunteer firefighters; and the red cross painted on the Canadian maple leaf. Recently, TIR painted over those murals with white paint.

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27, Gregory Swiatkowsi and a fellow Veteran took it upon themselves to repaint the artwork that was covered up with their own images. The mural honours veterans.

Swiatkowsi told CTV News they were upset to learn TIR had covered up the mural because it was considered distracting.

In an email to The Weekly Press on Oct. 28, TIR spokeswoman Marla MacInnis explained why the previous mural and the one painted by Swiatkowsi and his friend over the Oct. 26-27 weekend are a cause for safety concern.

“We have a responsibility to Nova Scotians to ensure our roads and highways are safe,” said MacInnis. “This includes minimizing all possible distractions. Even a second of distracted driving can lead to devastating consequences.”

MacInnis said that the re-painted mural done over the Oct. 26-27 weekend will remain—for now.

“We appreciate the desire to honour our veterans and we have official signage in place doing so along this road,” she said. “This is an extremely busy highway and in the interest of safety, we have an obligation to remove unofficial artwork.

“As our staff are currently occupied with other maintenance requirements, removal efforts will take place following Remembrance Day.”

MacInnis said TIR is open to meeting with the group to further discuss what can be done.

“We are happy to meet with the group and discuss alternative and safe ways to pay tribute to our Veterans.,” said MacInnis.