Nova Scotia

Politicians hoist rotting couch out of Williams Lake

Brendan Maguire, MLA for Halifax-Atlantic, along with Halifax city councillor Steve Adams and friend Stephan Fralick chopped up and removed the couch from the lake.

'It was horrible. It was disgusting,' said Brendan Maguire, MLA for Halifax-Atlantic

Couch discarded in lake was chopped up and removed Wednesday evening. (Brendan Maguire)

A couple of local politicians have gutted, chopped up and put to the curb, a leather couch abandoned in Halifax's Williams Lake. 

Brendan Maguire, MLA for Halifax-Atlantic, heard about the couch dumped in a swampy part of the pristine lake, popular for fishing trout and swimming, from a CBC News article. 

After calling the Nova Scotia Environment Department — "They said, 'we'll get back to you tomorrow'," he said — Maguire called a friend Stephan Fralick and local city councillor Steve Adams. They headed down with an axe, knife, chainsaw, some rope and a truck. 

'It was horrible, it was disgusting'

"It was horrible. It was disgusting. It was that gross kind of knee deep swampy water," he said. "It almost smelled like, I don't want to say sewage, but pretty close."

The couch was waterlogged, having sat in the swamp almost a week, so Maguire cut the cushions out, then cut the couch into sections. 

Significant effort

Whoever dumped this couch in Williams Lake went to considerable lengths to get rid of it. (Submitted by Robin Whyte)

Whoever dumped the couch went through considerable effort to do so. It was more than six metres from shore and only accessible by climbing down from a causeway, then hiking along a rocky shore, before even reaching the water. 

A member of Williams Lake Conservation Company, a volunteer group looking out for the lake, said Wednesday the group had tried contacting the city and provincial environment department for help. 

'Biggest pet peeves'

Close up of the couch before it was removed from the lake. (Brendan Maguire)

Maguire said the location of the dumping is all the more frustrating because of the past efforts in the area to clean up significant illegal dumps.

"It really, really is one of my biggest pet peeves," he said. "I just don't understand why anyone would throw something on the side of the road just to save a couple bucks. But in the end, the damage which it does to the environment, if you want to put it in monetary value, is a lot more."

Plea to stop

As for the couch rescue team, Maguire says he definitely owes them, and has a plea to anyone tempted by illegal dumping. 

"Stop dumping. I'm not doing this every Wednesday night. I have children to put to bed."

From left: Stephan Fralick, Brendan Maguire, and Steve Adams post-couch removal. (Brendan Maguire)
All that remains of the couch after it was removed from the lake (Brendan Maguire)
All is calm at the lake again now that the couch has been removed. (Brendan Maguire)


Rachel Ward


Rachel Ward is a journalist with the Fifth Estate. You can reach her with questions or story ideas at