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Sometimes when shiftless bureaucracy prevents crucial government work from getting done, citizens will take matters into their own hands.
And one Canadian man who took it upon himself to fill potholes in his Nova Scotia town is receiving the warm support of his neighbors, as well as some material aid such as some bud, some fresh-brewed coffee, and some cash.
John McCue, a 22-year-old, decided to do the roadwork after smashing into a massive pothole in his hometown of Stellarton while out for a drive with his mother.
So rather than nagging his city council or writing to local elected politicians, he grabbed his snow shovel and began patching up the crater-scape of worn-down roads by himself, according to CBC News. Setting about to fill the potholes with gravel, he put up a sign that read: “I filled the potholes, pay me instead of your taxes.”
John McCue has this sign with him while he’s filling in potholes. (Credit: John McCue)
The pitch was convincing for appreciative residents in the town, which has a population of roughly 4,000 people. Not only are they paying him cash – but they’re also bringing him coffee and a bit of cannabis, too.
On Tuesday, he told CBC:
“Yep, I’m getting definitely a lot of tips — I had a couple of people give me some joints, too, which is pretty nice.”
The sympathy he’s enjoyed is understandable, given the infamously ramshackle state of local roads. McCue noted that some vehicles have been significantly damaged while traversing the area. He noted:
“There was one story a couple of weeks ago where a car was driving through and it nailed one of the biggest potholes here and it ripped the axle right off the car.”
Authorities haven’t looked kindly on his work, though, insisting that it be left to professionals. They’ve also accused the self-starter of endangering himself by working on the road while also impeding traffic.
“I did have the town police come … The [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] came and the Department of Transportation came. They kind of threatened me with charges.
… I’ve hitchhiked for years and I’ve been around highways with much faster cars going much closer.
I know how to be safe around a vehicle in motion.”
The man has gotten positive news coverage not only from the Canadian media, but from outlets across the world. His positive example has compelled the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to issue a warning to the broader public not to undertake DIY repair work.
Marla MacInnis, a spokesperson for the department, told reporters:
“We understand the frustration that potholes cause this time of year but we strongly encourage motorists to contact [us] rather than taking matters into their own hands … This is very dangerous without the proper safety measures in place.”
And one Toronto-based lawyer also told Global News that filling in a pothole without the necessary skills or materials could open oneself up for potential legal liability if someone injures themselves or has an accident due to amateurish pothole patches.
McCue admits that while the road conditions have improved thanks to his work, he is feeling a bit sore after days of voluntary manual labor.
He plans on using some of the money to provide himself with basic living expenses such as food and gas. He’ll also need another essential in his life, straightforwardly explaining:
“I’m probably going to buy some weed with it, not going to lie.”