Filling a need


With newly given nicknames like Pictou County’s hero, you wouldn’t expect John McCue to be known for doing road work. The unemployed county resident was out for a drive one day with his mother when they drove over the potholes on Westville Road near the highway overpass.

With holes spanning the width of the road and nearly deep enough to swallow half a tire, it is certainly not a smooth ride. During the bumpy trip, McCue told his mother that he was going to come out and fix the potholes.

“I don’t think she thought I was serious,” laughed McCue. He was definitely serious though and he proved it as he donned an orange safety strap the next day and headed to the portion of the road with a plastic snow shovel.

For five and a half hours McCue dug away at the shoulder of the road and used the gravel there to fill in the holes, making them more manageable to drive over and less likely to damage a car. Honking and waving and thumbs up have been signs of support from most of those passing by. He has also received cash and coffee and snacks from those who are appreciative and want to stop and let him know.

After being out there for so long the first day McCue said the RCMP came by and asked him to leave or they would have to charge him for mischief or make him leave for obstructing traffic. McCue said he packed his things, went to Tim Hortons across the road for some food and then came back out and kept at it. Since then there have been cars drive past but no more stops by RCMP.

“I’ve had the cops drive by a couple of times and they honked and waved,” he said. The next day McCue was back out on the shoulder working at fixing the holes in the road. “I’m going to try to flatten it out to the best of my ability.”

McCue really started getting attention and honks as he held up a sign stating “I filled the potholes, pay me instead of your taxes.”

“It’s just meant to be humorous, I don’t want people to commit tax fraud,” he laughed. He clarified that the sign was just to let people know that he was not a paid worker doing maintenance on the holes. As a busker, McCue is familiar and certainly not shy when it comes to drawing attention to himself.

Although he foresees that he will likely go into retirement from filling potholes after this particular sport he added that you never know, as he will be unemployed for another month and if people request he may go and fill other potholes.

The province, which is responsible for that part of the road is discouraging citizens from filling in potholes on their own though. There is even a hotline to call and report a pothole on county or provincial roads. You can report potholes by calling 1-844-696-7737.

“We patrol roads daily and complete temporary cold-mix repairs regularly in order to improve road conditions for motorists during the winter months. Cold mix is a temporary patch used until longer-lasting hot-mix asphalt becomes available when asphalt plants open in the spring. We look forward to making more permanent repairs at that time and encourage motorists to drive carefully and report troublesome potholes to the department,” said Marla MacInnis, communications for the Department of Transportation.

County resident John McCue took matters into his own hands last week as he began filling potholes in on his own on Westville road.

(Brimicombe photo)