2 steel beams were to be used at Heart's Haven Memorial Park for Heather O'Brien, Kristen Beaton
The husband of one of the victims of the Nova Scotia April 2020 mass shooting is disgusted and disheartened after two steel beams were stolen from a memorial park in Debert, N.S., earlier this month.
Nick Beaton, the husband of Kristen Beaton who died during the shootings, said the beams were going to be used to construct a bridge in Heart's Haven Memorial Park.
The six-hectare park serves as a memorial for both Kristen and Heather O'Brien, two employees of the Victorian Order of Nurses Canada who died in the 13-hour rampage that left 22 people dead. Kristen Beaton was pregnant when she was killed.
The community effort has been in the works for two years, and features trails, a gazebo, a playground and gardens. The bridge was supposed to join two areas of the park.
"It just seems like three steps forward and five back … this happened right around the anniversary, so it just takes the wind out of your sails," Beaton said Saturday.
"Just disheartening and disgusting and it doesn't only hit me, it hits a whole community."
Nova Scotia RCMP Sgt. Andrew Joyce said the beams were stolen from the park between April 14-17, just days before the third anniversary of the shootings.
The beams, said to be worth about $2,000 each, were reported stolen on Friday afternoon.
"I'm sure most people — when an incident like this happens at a public site, especially this at this time — one has to look inside pretty deep to wonder how somebody can do something like this, knowingly do something like this," Joyce said Saturday.
Joyce said the beams, which are each about 317 kilograms (700 pounds) and 5.5 metres (18 feet) long, likely required multiple people and equipment to steal from the site.
Beaton said the beams were placed on one of the trails inside the park, almost hidden.
"They had to go out of their way to find. It's not like they stumbled upon it and the process to get them out there wasn't an easy process," he said.
He said if the beams hadn't been stolen, the bridge would be up by now.
"I've got people reaching out from all over wanting to help out. 'What can we do? You know, let's get these replaced. Let's continue on,'" he said. "But it still doesn't take away the fact that someone was that cold hearted and just a piece of dirt to do something like this."
Not the first time
Marie Benoit, the local councillor with the Municipality of Colchester, said this isn't the first time something has been stolen from the construction site. Some gravel was taken earlier.
"This park was created out of love and for everybody involved, and just to see people just have no respect and just take it, I don't understand. I really don't," Benoit said, who has been working closely with the families to create the park.
"I understand times are tough and things are extremely expensive, but you don't take from a memorial park — to take from anybody — but to take from a memorial park is an all-time low."
She said the municipality has already ordered two more beams in case they aren't returned. That's because shipping delays have already pushed back the grand opening.
The park is expected to open in late summer.
"This is a big project and to see it be delayed any longer it's just, it's not right," she said.
Beaton said he wants the thieves to know they should return the beams to the park because he expects the community will find out who stole them.
"I just hope the people that took it, I hope that they have a lot of nights without sleep, and eventually it's going to come out and they're got to live with themselves and what they've done."
Joyce said the investigation is ongoing.
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