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'My heart was broken into a million pieces' : Memorial cross returns after being taken down by HRM

Kylie Cooper was sitting in the backseat of a car on June 10 heading east on Highway 2 when it collided with another vehicle at around 7:30 p.m.
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A memorial cross for Kylie Cooper returns to the corner of Highway 2 at Abilene Avenue after being taken down by Halifax Regional Municipality (Photo courtesy of Councillor Steve Streatch/Facebook)

With files from Chris Halef

The mother of a 15-year-old girl who died in a two-vehicle crash in June says her heart was broken into a million pieces when the cross she put up in Wellington to remember her daughter was taken down by the municipality.

Marlene Cooper said it took her everything she had to work up to erecting the small memorial to Kylie at the corner of Highway 2 at Abilene Avenue.

"They just took it like it was nothing," she said through tears.

Kylie Cooper was sitting in the backseat of a car on June 10 heading east on Highway 2 when it collided with another vehicle at around 7:30 p.m.

She was airlifted to hospital where she died of her injuries.

"I got the call to go to the IWK and there was nothing they could do to save her life," said Cooper. "Her heart was bleeding so she was already gone at the accident site."

The 87-year-old driver of the other car was also killed in the crash. 

Cooper said she put the cross up last week as a memorial and tribute to her daughter, but also as a thank you to the people of Wellington who responded to the scene.

She found out Wednesday it had been taken down by Halifax Regional Municipality staff after they received complaints, which was confirmed by the councillor for the area, Steve Streatch.

"Staff indicated to me that they had complaints about a memorial that had been erected and that they would be taking it down." 

Streatch wasn't sure who complained or why but explained staff were just following protocol.

"They follow policy and if in fact there is something in the right of way and they do receive complaints, they have to become proactive on that," he said. "By the time I got involved and was able to rally any information, it had already been removed."

After a few late night phone calls, Streatch was able to get in touch with the family and track down the memorial.

He joined Cooper and Kylie's grandmother when they put the cross back up Thursday morning.

Cooper said it was just as emotionally difficult to put it up the second time as it was the first.

"I feel it cruel that other people could be so mean as to complain about something so simple as a cross in the ground ... to do that was part of my grieving and they took it away, " she said. "My heart was broken just like the day it happened and I don't want someone else to go through something so horrible."

Streatch plans to ask for a council report on a memorial placement policy to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"There's a million crosses in Nova Scotia, I see them dotted all along the roads. I'm not sure what makes mine different from the rest," Cooper said. "I can't believe someone would complain. I'm heartbroken that they wouldn't take that as a reminder to be safe."




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