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'If you do something for the public, and the public appreciates what you do, they’ll pay you. You’ll get by.'
John McCue, 22 has a job waiting for him in Alberta, but in the mean-time he’s accepting donations for filling in the potholes.
“I just noticed it the other day. I don’t drive, but it seemed kind of annoying.,” said John McCue, 22 of Stellarton.
“I’m not doing anything right now so I came out here to do this.”
McCue’s unofficial roadwork started around 11:30 a.m. on Monday near the overpass in the exit 23 area of Westville road. The section of road has been frustrating motorists for weeks now.
Using a snow shovel, McCue has spent at least two hours taking gravel out of the shoulder of the road and tossing it onto the potholes from a distance.
“I find it might be a little bit easier with the cars, because whenever I throw the dirt down, they just go over it and pack it down for me,” said McCue.
Most of the people driving through the intersection seemed to agree. There was the regular sound of appreciative toots from passing cars, and one even stopped to hand him a five-dollar bill through the passenger side window.
“Good job buddy,”
“That’s the first tip I’ve gotten all day,” said McCue.
According to McCue, the work that he’s doing isn’t that much different than busking.
“I’ve busked for probably 4 or 5 years. Just like hula hooping, juggling, balance board, I do all that kind of stuff for crowds at bars to just get tip money and I actually find this very similar,” said John McCue.
“If you do something for the public, and the public appreciates what you do, they’ll pay you. You’ll get by.”
Of course, not everyone is keen to celebrate McCue’s work.
“Any pedestrian refusing to yield to traffic is in violation of the motor vehicle act and could be subjected to a fine,” said Cpt. Ron Bryce with the Pictou RCMP in an interview.
“We certainly want to emphasize public safety and ask everyone to remain patient.”
According to McCue, the RCMP have already stopped to tell him that he was impeding traffic. But that’s not how McCue sees it.
“I told them that I was making traffic faster,” said McCue. “I hope they don’t come and get me until I’m done with this.”
The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal also wrote The News to discourage vigilante pot-hole fillers.
“This is very dangerous without the proper safety measures in place. You can report potholes by calling 1-844-696-7737,” said Department spokesperson, Marla MacInnis.
Despite the warnings, McCue was back at it again the following day.
“I would say that this job is nearly done now,” said McCue. “But I want to make sure it’s all flat.”
Nova Scotia is notorious for its porous road conditions at this time of year. Warm air from the Carolinas and freezing air from the Arctic cause freeze-thaw cycles that cause potholes and other headaches for drivers.
Department work-crews patch damaged areas during the winter with cold-mix repairs. But these repairs are only temporary until more permanent, ‘hot mix’ asphalt can be brought in.
“We look forward to making more permanent repairs at that time,” said MacInnis.
Meanwhile in Pictou county, McCue is being hailed as a local hero.
“That’s it buddy!” called-out one passing driver. “Shame them!”