Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Members of the RCMP are investigating the placement of a disturbing sign at a cottage property in Buckfield.
Located at the property of Mark Kozlowski, president of the Truro-based company, Wilson Equipment Ltd., the round sign had the word "Redneck" spelled out in block letters along the top. On the bottom was written "Hangout." And in the centre was a graphic of a noose.
Angela Bowden, who was with family members at her cabin in the area, reported that it was a cousin, who also owns a cabin in the area, who first saw the sign on Kozlowki's property on September 6.
"She came back and told us what she saw. I thought there is no way," said Bowden. "It was about seven minutes away from our cabin, deep into the woods. We took a drive to look. When I saw it, I instantly froze. Everything on me was pins and needles. I was sick to my stomach. I started to sweat and I immediately felt unsafe."
According to Bowden, her family members were shocked by the sign.
"To see something like this so blatant and just in your face like that, it really took us all back. It made us feel unsafe, ruined the entire evening and left us to question whether we would ever return to that area again," said Bowden, who is from Bedford.
Staff Sergeant Daniel Archibald of the Liverpool RCMP detachment said that an investigation into the incident is ongoing and "the gathering of potential grounds for charges is being considered."
He reported that Kozlowski had contacted the RCMP to notify them that the sign had been removed and would not be erected again.
Kozlowski could not be reached for comment, however Wilson Equipment posted a comment about the incident on Twitter.
"Dear Valued Customers, Friends and Community: We learned today of an offensive sign put up at Mark's cottage without his knowledge or consent. As soon as Mark became aware, he had it taken down immediately. Putting the sign up was someone's idea of a joke. A thoughtless, offensive joke."
"Neither Mark nor anyone at Wilson Equipment supports the racist message the sign communicates. We believe in equity and inclusion and reject any messages that suggest otherwise.
"We categorically do not support violence or hate directed at anyone for any reason, and we apologize to everyone who was offended... " the company tweeted in part.
The mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality, David Dagley, commented that such jokes are intolerable.
"Our community prides itself in being safe and open to everyone equally, and this action in no way speaks to the kindness and support we give our family members, friends and neighbours each day in Queens County," he said. "Our council strongly condemns this poor judgement and lack of understanding of the hurt caused by posting this sign."
Bowden questioned how the incident could be classed as a "prank," considering the cottage owner has cameras in place and the sign was screwed into the building.
"These are actual legitimate threats. And the racial climate we are living in, we ought to know better. We ought to know when we post an image of that clarity what that message sends," said Bowden.