Work begins on monument to Amber Kirwan

Sueann Musick
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New Glasgow’s public works lays the concrete base for the Amber Kirwan monument. Once the foundation is set, a wrought-iron structure will be erected in memory of Kirwan, who went missing almost a year ago from downtown New Glasgow and whose remains were found a month later. Sueann Musick – The News

NEW GLASGOW – Work has started on a monument dedicated to a 19-year-old Pictou County woman who went missing almost a year ago.

New Glasgow’s town works crews were pouring concrete for the base of the Amber Kirwan monument Wednesday on a grass-covered hill on the Samson Trail.

“The crews are overseeing the pouring of the slab foundation for the structure and will be stamping the concrete with decorative finish (Wednesday night),” said town engineer Earl MacKenzie. “We will also be doing some site cleanup so that it is ready for horticultural planting next week.”

Darren Martin, owner of Creative Metals, will be building and donating the monument while other partners include Kris Stewart who will do the stonework for the base of the monument and the masonry work will be by MacIvor and Stewart Masonry. Granite portions are being provided by Robert Simpson from Arsenault Monuments and two benches will be provided by the Leil Family and Investors Group. All the landscaping needs, including flowers and greenery, will be donated by Proudfoots Home Hardware.

A private citizens committee is overseeing the construction and design. The exact size of the monument couldn’t be confirmed by the committee at press time, but the concrete base is 17 x 18 feet.

Committee member Mariea Leil-Bowser said she would be issuing a press release in October with more details, but as of now, the project is running on schedule.

During the unveiling of the designs for the monument in July, Leil-Bowser said the Samson Trail was chosen because the committee felt it was a quiet place to reflect on a young girl’s life and pay tribute to a community that came together in a time of darkness.

Kirwan left Dooly's Pool Hall in New Glasgow on Oct. 9, 2011, and disappeared a short time later. An extensive search that included the New Glasgow Police Service, the RCMP, Pictou County Search and Rescue and rescue teams from fire departments throughout the county as well as local residents took place in Pictou County.

On Nov. 6, RCMP and New Glasgow Police Service officials confirmed that Kirwan's remains were found in Heathbell, Pictou County, and immediately launched a homicide investigation. On May 17 an arrest and charges were made in connection with the case.

Organizations: Creative Metals, Leil Family and Investors Group, RCMP

Geographic location: NEW GLASGOW, Pictou County, Heathbell

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Recent comments

  • Lena McKay
    November 09, 2012 - 13:02

    I have just read some of the most pathetic comments on the "Monument to Amber Kerwin", She was an angel to her family an friends, I personally did not know Amber, so how dare you degrade such an angel, a monument in her memory is one of the best things New Glasgow citizens can do for her memory. A young girl murdered is a disgusting thing that can happen to anyone. So to those closed minded people, stay away from the MONUMENT ALTOGETHER, and let those who choose, VISIT and remember their cherished friend, daughter, grand-daughter and leave with a smile instead of tears.

  • one side or another
    October 03, 2012 - 14:51

    To my understanding, this monument is to be erected in the memory of Amber Kirwan. I can understand why people would want a place to go to pay their respects to her. But I also understand why people are getting upset about a public place being a site for one person memorial. There should have been a Monument for All of Pictou Counties Missing or Murdered Residents, then they should have had trees or flowers or something that could have been placed along the trail by the statute with a plaque for "said peoples" to be remembered and honored individually. this being said, the people who "raised money" or whatever was done for this statue just to remember Amber should have been respectful of COUNTY who came together to help in anyway they could, and not just think about Amber and paid respect to all the missing / murdered residents.

  • Seriously
    October 01, 2012 - 20:38

    If a monument is constructed on public land isn't it for the area, not an individual. This should be for all the wrongful deaths in Pictou county over the years. If stop and think just a little, you will realize there are many tragic stories in many families. If this tragedy brought the people closer together, then make this a Pictou County monument to all people who have been wrongfully taken from this world. I mean no disrespect to the Kirwan family, but I also want to show respect to the other families who are not getting a monument.

  • momma bear
    September 30, 2012 - 22:04

    My heart is broken over what happened to Amber ,she did bring Pictou County together during the 4=5 wks she was missing ......But she wasnt known for really known anything other than she went missing thats how people came to know her ....I do believe there should be a monument but not just for Amber,she is known as Pictou County:s Angel ,,well there are other Pictou County :s Angels 1 Kevin Martin 2 Lynn Oliver 3eddie Phealan 4 a young lady named Melissa .....Im sure Amber would want the monument be for all and not just her i dont think she would all this attention on her .....I hope that all these families find the peace that they need ..May God Bless them all .....

  • saddness in my heart
    September 29, 2012 - 17:15

    First of all i would like to start of my saying i;m so very sorry what happened to Amber ..But truly she wasnt known for something she did ,or in office people got to ~know ~her for what happened to her and thats all ....Its wonderful how Pictou county came together to try and bring her home but that wasnt to be ..The monument is o.k. But for all the others they get nothing . .Kevin Martin 13 yrs .lynn oliver early 20ies Eddie phealan im not sure of his age .a young girl melissa around 20 -21 what about their families .Ambers family get to `~visit ~ her when ever they want to feel peace and comfort all but Lynns family go visit their graves thats all the peace and comfort they get ....So what is good one should be good for all .Amber would want everyones names on the monument i really dont think she would want all the attention just for her but for all in closing may all the families find comfort they all need ......

  • Tizzle
    September 28, 2012 - 11:43

    Props to the town works employees for volunteering their time for this.

    • joseph
      September 28, 2012 - 13:56

      "Volunteering town works employees"? are you insinuating that those workers will be docked for every hour they spend/spent doing this work?

  • rm
    September 28, 2012 - 11:36

    i cant believe what im reading such negative comments im not from new glascow but if the people that love amber want the statue up so be it you cant build a statue for every one so stop putting negative comments here and things have been donated for the statue so stop bitching about taxes payers money being spend so the workers get paid she didnt ask to be murdered if it was your loved one you wouldnt have a darn thing to say negatively so the stutue is too big then a person that has lost a loved one just like the tragic death of amber can go there to reflect on amber plus on their loved one it can be anyones statue their name doesnt have to be on it and shame on you to all the negative people

  • Sarah
    September 28, 2012 - 10:57

    I think the point here is being missed. Being critical of how our public space is used is not being disrespectful to Amber or her family. We have all mourned the loss of Amber whether we knew her or not. It's an unspeakable tragedy. However, the fact remains that this kind of memorial is pretty much unprecedented - for an individual that was unknown to the community before her disappearance. We'll never forget Amber and as a young woman I certainly will never walk home alone again, no matter where I am, but we've got to be reasonable, Pictou County (and a little more mature and thoughtful on these comments). At the very least the public should have been consulted. Many of us use the trail every day. It's our space. It's the principle of it that many of us are concerned about, none of us believe that Amber shouldn't be remembered or honoured.

  • Sam
    September 28, 2012 - 10:44

    People are saying we should watch what we say incase Ambers family see this. REALLY? what about kevin, eddy, and lynn's family driving by and seeing this? To have it this big is just getting carried away. a lady on ambers site said that "They seem to have this sense of jealousy and aren't realizing they are attacking an innocent deceased young woman's memory." No not quite. The problem is Lynn Olivers family never gets to go to a place to pay respect to her she is still missing and a monument would have been nice dedicated to her aswell. it probably would have made her family have a bit of relief to know that people still cared and thought about her. but no it was not done. and i dont know how anybody would want a monument this big for one person. There was conflict from the first when it was said one was being erected and they still went ahead with this and made it this big. REALLY? Why so big? I understand she was a young lady and it was very tragic what happen to her, but alot of families been through this and alot of families dont have the closure what her family will soon have.

  • Just wondering
    September 28, 2012 - 07:28

    What about the others that have gone missing? The only reason the community came together was because of social media .... FACEBOOK I understand someone was murdered but this monument should not be "the committee felt it was a quiet place to reflect on a young girl’s life and pay tribute to a community that came together in a time of darkness." it should be for all girls who lost their lives .... then build one for the boys.

  • Cinderella
    September 28, 2012 - 07:18

    Too bad. The monument has been started. You can all say what you want. Those of us who LOVE and KNEW Amber do not think it is too much! Nothing you can say can hurt us more than living without Amber in our lives. So make your comments if it helps you all just sound pathetic.

  • Betty
    September 28, 2012 - 01:32

    I agree with Matt and I believe that Amber would want to share with other victims.

  • zoomzoom
    September 28, 2012 - 01:16

    I agree with the side that believes that all victims should be honered.Someone thought that if room was left for other victims name could be added.There will be lots of room to share

  • Really
    September 27, 2012 - 23:41

    To on the wings. How do you know the victim was so innocent?how do you know drugs were not related? How do you. Know anything about what happened and why unless you were there. This is a manstrocity something of this size should never have been approved on a public trail. What is to come of this monument once the trial is over and just by chance someone isnt as innocent as proclaimed. Somhing this large should have been rected for all ppl like some mentioned about plaques. Also to the pseron that said if you want a monument go get one. Really to want monuments placed all over the own so were ever you go your reminded of someone dead. This should have beeb erectec at a cemetery if wanted that badly.

  • Matt
    September 27, 2012 - 20:34

    Even if a group of citizens lobbied for this and donated every cent themselves, a PUBLIC monument of this size for ONE PERSON is still a slap in the face to every other person in the area that has ever gone missing. I blame the town. They shouldn't have approved this. A previous commenter has a great idea, build a monument that allows plaques to be added. A place for families that have tragic events in common to come together and console one another. Now tell me naysayers, what is so negative about that idea? One person doesn't deserve a monument that rivals tthe Westray memorial in terms of size, come on! If it was my daughter, I'd be embarrased really.

  • shelly
    September 27, 2012 - 16:51

    I thinnk why everyone is so upset is because someone is getting a monument on a public trail who never did anything to deserve said monument. She was out in the middle of the night walking alone , disappeared and was found a month later. This murder case has never been proven in court and come to a conviction. I think New Glasgow has lost it's collective mind, to be honest.What is the rush to put the monument up? Could it not have waited until after the trial , if it ever has enough evidence to go to trial? Be careful, it is not all over yet. It might not be something everyone wants to remember daily.

  • Don Juan
    September 27, 2012 - 16:16

    NG News why do you have comments enabled for this? Think you can show your community minded instead thinking how many hits you can get on an article? The publisher should be totally ashamed of himself. For the rest of the Negative Neddies posting, YOU are the reason why Pictou County is one of the worst places to live. Im surprised you have the brainpower to get past the validation process when posting.

  • crystal
    September 27, 2012 - 15:59

    Why not have a monument donated so more than one set of parents can share their memories of their fallen child??? Miss. Kirwan was not the first teenager to go missing or be murdered what about kevin??? Why does she get all the spotlight and attention that everyone deserves????? SO FRIGGIN DISAPPOINTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Amazed at comments
    September 27, 2012 - 15:43

    Do the people writing the negative responses not realize that Amber’s family will be reading these comments? Shameful. I would rather some of my tax dollars go to something like this monument rather than the 1% tax on house or land purchases in Pictou County for the new Wellness Center that I will never use.

  • theresa
    September 27, 2012 - 15:38

    rest in peace AMBER !!! i will visit your monument !!! i pray this does not happen to another family .. god bless you DONNIE, MARJ, & LIAM .

    • N.Russell
      September 28, 2012 - 13:23

      My feelings exactly. To the Town of New Glasgow thank you for putting my tax dollars towards helping heal the hearts of many. Pictou County please be respectful and show kindness to others.

  • tax tired
    September 27, 2012 - 15:16

    NGCaper- obviously you didn't read the article "New Glasgow’s town works crews were pouring concrete for the base of the Amber Kirwan monument Wednesday on a grass-covered hill on the Samson Trail. “The crews are overseeing the pouring of the slab foundation for the structure and will be stamping the concrete with decorative finish (Wednesday night),”Only a twitt would think that those 8 town workers in the picture are donating there time to do this. Disbelief- I would never want my daughters memory sullied by this fiasco. If I were a parent in this kind of situation I would be embarrassed to be associate with ones current company included who thrive and revel (dare I say get off) on death and sorrow. On the wings of an angel- Apology accepted.

  • NGCaper
    September 27, 2012 - 14:57

    To all those that are griping about this momument being paid by the taxpayers of New Glasgow, have you read the article posted on July 26, 2012? It reads... "Darren Martin, owner of Creative Metals, will be building and donating the monument while other partners include Kris Stewart who will do the stonework for the base of the monument and the masonry work will be by MacIvor and Stewart Masonry. Granite portions are being provided by Robert Simpson from Arsenault Monuments and two benches will be provided by the Leil Family and Investors Group. All the landscaping needs, including flowers and greenery, will be donated by Proudfoots Home Hardware." This is being entirely donated. Get yours facts straight! Extravagant or not, it will be a place where those that are close to Amber can go to remember her. And if you don't want to go look at it, just don't and shut the hell up!

  • Joanna
    September 27, 2012 - 14:53

    I wholeheartedly agree with Disbelief's comment. To all the negative comments here: I am deeply saddened and enraged by your complete disregard for other people's feelings. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • ducky
    September 27, 2012 - 14:41

    This size of this monument looks like it will rival the Westray memorial or any of the cenotaphs in the county. I think it is a bit much for one person. And it's not a monument for peace or love or for all victims of violence. We all know that it was intended to be, and will only be interpreted as a memorial to Miss Kirwan. I think everyone was well intentioned but it's gone overboard and will therefore attract some criticism.

  • Wow...
    September 27, 2012 - 14:39

    Seriously - This AGAIN... I'm moving.

  • Disbelief
    September 27, 2012 - 14:29

    I can honestly say I am disgusted to say I'm from Pictou county after reading some of these comments how can you people be so heartless to someone so innocent. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. I'm sure if that was your daughter you'd have a different opinion.

    • canadianengineer
      September 30, 2012 - 09:20

      I am sorry to comment on suck a touchy su ject, but people all over the world are dying, some have completed extrodanary things for comunitys but miss kirwins inocense dont not jusiTify public funds with out votes on the facts of nessity, the good people in the towns obvously feel like they failed a young women but what now?a monument for the town grieving over the fact that officals ignor everthing the towns poeople have said, its not a crim if you dont dont get caught is a statment that comes to mind, what skeletons did she have in her closet? None wereth bring up, because that is how to remember a single person , with friends telling stories not a monument that reflects to tourist dont shop here we will kill your cgildten , this is crazy, get out of the past people move !

  • JustMe
    September 27, 2012 - 13:58

    The town of NG did not choose to erect this monument, a group of citizens asked permission to do it. When you say things like "why didn't so and so get a monument" you take away the credibility of your argument. If there is someone who think should get a monument, get a group together, do the fundraising and do what this group did. If you think there should be a monument erected to all victims of violence, again, get a few people together and get busy. I find this monument too large and extravagant personally, but I don't see what shooting off about it on public websites will accomplish....its already being built and no one can stop it. An to the person who made the reference that others who died violently didn't deserve a monument because they brought it on themselves by involvement in the drug trade.....shame on you. Tell his children that. His family, wife and children mourn him just as painfully and hard as Amber Kirwan's family mourns her. What an ignorant and uncaring comment to make. The town of New Glasgow should not have approved this project because it sets a precedent I'm uncomfortable with. If someone does get a group together and try to build a bigger monument to one-up this group, where will it end? The sampson trail will turn into a misplaced memorial garden. Planting a tree in her honor, and laying a plaque would have been tasteful and sufficient. Lynn Oliver's friends and family did that close to the trial last month.

  • On the wings of an angel...
    September 27, 2012 - 13:07

    Tax Tired - I apologize - I singled you out - I immediately made a comment to yours...without reading the other comments first - I correct myself in that my comment earlier is now for ALL of you who are making negative comments - please remember that Amber's death also reflects violence agains women - the monument will be also stand as an ongoing remembrance that ALL violence is wrong. Please people - why are so many people so negative these days? It makes me sad - be kind, be everyone. There are all kinds of issues that are disagreed on - I just don't understand why this one has any negativity surrounding it. Peace.

  • peace maker
    September 27, 2012 - 12:50

    I understand the grief and people who wish to mourn. Maybe the solution would be the monument would be dedicated to all who have had their lives cut short through some sort of crime and allow individual plaques to be attached to the moument. we have to be so careful not to set precedents and let matters spiral out of control. Maybe there should be tips inscribed giving tips on the young to remain safe. Lets think of the big picture and make an effort such as this go a long way to recognize the value of friends and life.

  • BAH
    September 27, 2012 - 12:10

    This monument is way too extravagant. Of course the taxpayers and residents of New Glasgow just have to accept that this is typical politics and you have no voice. It makes no difference what you think or how you feel, the council members are in control and will do as they please, whether or not you agree, they are typical politicians and don't care what you think. They have pushed this through and are patting themselves on the back for it as we speak. They are likely wearing their superhero capes while they do it.

  • The People of New Glasgow
    September 27, 2012 - 11:27

    Get of your ass and do what you need to do to have memorials done in whatever honour you feel nessesary.. Ambers death had nothing to do with drugs or simply provoking someone to commit a murder upon them , she was an innocent teenage girl whos death was sensless....she had the rest of her life ahead of her to go on and do amazing things..with this fact, the same cannot be said for the rest. The amount of effort put into trying to bring her home safe and the many people that loved her deserve this monument as she was taken from so many of her loved ones for no reason.God bless Amber Kirwan , Pictou Countys Angel

    • A Victim is a Victim
      September 27, 2012 - 14:16

      Well i never heard tell of a murder victim that wasn't innocent; every murder is senseless....19 years old or 79 years old; femalle, male. I cannot understand why society needs to segragate between victims. It is truly disheartening when people state that for some reason this tragic, senseless murder is more relevant than any other murder. I am fairly certain that all the family members of murdered victims in our county and elsewhere will tell you that their family members murder was as senseless as it gets. The concept of the monument is brilliant; however, segragating it to just the one murder victim is truly wrong. It may have been the friends / family who moved forward with this intiative; but let logic kick in at some point. Personally I believe when the scope of the momument became what it appears to be that some changes had to be factored in. Perhaps that is going to take place, who really knows for sure; maybe that is what the press release next month will talk about or maybe not. The comment regarding Mr. Phalens's children someday viewing this moment and wondering why the same county did not recognize their father's murder as they have Ms. Kirwans breaks my heart just thinking about it. When a life is taken from us at the hands of another...regardless of the is most devasting. Murder is Murder.

    • sam
      September 28, 2012 - 10:55

      Maybe you should clarify who you mean by "the rest" are you saying that Kevin, Eddy, and Lynn's life wasnt that important. They were also taken from their loved ones for no reason. There was also alot of effort put into trying to bring them home. There is alot of people that loved them that also deserve a monument to visit. but nope people get it on there minds that she was the only young person that was to ever go missing. she is apparently the only one you had a family that cared about her. People say its called jealously but no its not its called still remebering you family. and that thepeople of the town they were from apparently dont care about the people that went missing before Amber did. If this was done for one of them before it was done for amber ALOT would have been said. I mean ALOT.

  • On the wings of an angel...
    September 27, 2012 - 11:20

    This is for Tax Tired and your comment - how dare you?! Seriously?! You had to vent here? - this monument is for an innocent victim of a horrific crime...this is not the place for your comments of negativity - there is a verse, "There but for the Grace of God goes I" - have you dealt with any tragedy to the extent that Amber's family has?...probably not - so be happy that you are alive - and no more negative comments about this wonderful monument, please - it it not the place or time.

  • tax tired
    September 27, 2012 - 10:23

    I'm just wondering as a property owner and Tax Payer in the town of New Glasgow if I will be recieving a charitable tax receipt for the value of the work that the Town employees have put into this tribute to death. I have spent the last 10 years trying to figure why the town officials make the choices that they make when using my tax money and I keep coming back to it being a complete lack of competency and common sense that drives these people to make the decisions that they do. This thing should be paid for out of the pockets of the people that are pushing for it and the burden, not one cent put on the backs of the over taxed residents of New Glasgow on top of the burden of having to look at it everytime one walks the trail. Ok release the hounds and let the articulate (not) comments fly.

  • ng flowers
    September 27, 2012 - 08:55

    a big enough base to also put eddy phalin.what are his children going to think when they get older.wondering why she was more inportant then there dad.alot of money that could have been used for eddys small children to make life a little more easy.i would like to know what here parents are thinking .to let this happen .

  • matt
    September 27, 2012 - 08:31

    ya know if ya lived here and went through the time looking for her you would under stand you should just stop saying **** and think befor you write god bless amber

  • Gaudy Monstrosity
    September 27, 2012 - 08:13

    This monstrosity is an affront to all of our war cenotaphs. A simple plaque in a small garden would have been more appropriate. And given the claims of this so called committee - wasn't that the stated goal? This just screams 'look what I can do!'

  • The shadow
    September 27, 2012 - 07:12

    Wonder when they will build the memorial to New Glasgow the town that no longer matters in Pictou County.

  • Annoyed
    September 27, 2012 - 07:04

    I just dont get why she gets a monument. what about others who are killed in the area? Correct me if i'm wrong but about a week after ambers disaperance wasen't there a shooting? wheres the victims statue? not fair in my opinion

  • curious
    September 27, 2012 - 06:22

    I get it a girl went missing! We should moen yes, but a statue is the most rediculous thing I have ever herd! Donated or not this tragic event marks a point in time when pictou county drugs were at its worst, more over doeses more deaths and well to be blunt about it says yes tourist we really are that pathetic and living in the past !

  • EdmundGerber
    September 26, 2012 - 20:43

    What a behemoth - 17 x 18' base??? A monument that size rivals our larger war memorial cenotaphs! WAY OVER THE TOP!