Pebble mosaic unveiled in Barry’s Bay to honour 2015 triple murder victims

A pebble mosaic was unveiled in Barry’s Bay’s Water Tower Park on Thursday to honour Anastasia Kuzyk, Carol Culleton, and Nathalie Warmerdam.

All three women were murdered seven years ago, on Sept. 22, 2015 by Basil Borutski in locations surrounding Barry’s Bay.

“It was very powerful to look at all of the images,” said JoAnne Brooks, who is with Ending Violence Against Women Renfrew County, remarking on the new mosaic.

“It’s very beautiful as well,” she said. “It’s very much rooted in the community. It’s the message the community wanted to convey, and in reverence for the three women who were murdered.”

The mosaic features scenes of the rolling landscape of Renfrew County, as well as three chickadee birds, each representing Kuzyk, Culleton, and Warmerdam.

“The relationship to land is really important to folks here,” said the mosaic’s lead artist Anna Camilleri, talking about the inspiration for the design.

“Especially when we’re talking about gender based violence, and the isolation and rural reality.”

Camilleri also said the choice of making the birds chickadees was deliberate, as chickadees are very communicative birds and warn each other of nearby dangers.

“I hope that people feel moved and feel a sense of hope,” she added. “Stones are really healing, really grounding, and the pebble mosaic invites people to come together and gather around it.”

Local MPP and Barry’s Bay resident John Yakabuski was in attendance for the unveiling. He says that dark day in Renfrew County’s history is burned into his memory.

“Today is kind of a manifestation of that grief,” he said. “But also a commitment that the community is absolutely steadfast in their determination that this won’t happen again.”

This past summer in Renfrew County, a public inquest into the deaths was held and resulted in 86 recommendations being made and the region leads the push to end intimate partner violence.

“It’s forefront in our minds,” said Ontario’s Attorney General Doug Downey who was also in attendance. “And that fact that two ministers were here tonight is testament to that.”

“Those 86 recommendations are ringing out across the province and the county about what we can do and what we need to do to make change,” said Brooks.

Downey did not give a timeline on when the results of the 86 recommendations would be announced.

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