N.S. government compromises on roadside flowerbed at farm market
The owners of Hennigar’s Farm Market in Wolfville, N.S have come to a compromise of sorts with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.
The market's roadside garden has been in place for almost 30 years, but the department ordered the flowerbed to be cut back after receiving a complaint from a cyclist, who said the flowerbeds jutted out too far, citing safety concerns.
Owner Doug Hennigar was asked to move the flowerbed back 1.2 metres by June 30. He was warned the government would have it done, potentially at his expense, if he failed to comply.
Hennigar did not comply with the request, saying he didn’t believe the flowers were a safety risk.
Staff with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal visited the area Wednesday. Glen Strang, area manager for the department, says there has been concern over safety for a couple of years.
“Twenty-nine years ago, the same concerns weren’t there,” says Strang. “It’s a very busy road. It’s one of the busiest roads outside metro Halifax.”
Hennigar says, in the 29 years the flowerbed has been here, there has never been a problem and he is receiving lots of support from the community.
“The supposed issue is coming from maybe someone who doesn't live in the area, doesn't appreciate the 30-year history, or the fact that it is really not a safety issue at all,” says resident Kevin Carver.
After a meeting with Hennigar and a visit to the site, the department’s has decided to cut the bed back by a foot at the end of the growing season, with all expenses covered by the province.
The department says the entire area will be looked at to see what needs to be done. Once the changes are made to the flowerbed this fall, paving will be done, which will include the shoulder of the road leading into the area.
Liberal MLA Keith Irving says he understands Hennigar’s frustration, but when issues about public safety are raised, they need to be addressed.
“It wasn't resolved as quickly…as we would have liked, but we were able to come to that solution today and I think in the end we worked this out,” says Irving.
Hennigar says he is all about safety and has spent thousands of dollars of his own money paving and improving the parking lot to his farmers market to promote just that.
“I think with that I'm going to probably say this is our last year for the flowerbed and I haven't got time for this foolishness,” says Hennigar.
Hennigar says he will live with the decision for now, but it doesn’t mean he is happy about it.
“I'm kind of saddened by the fact that we have some bureaucracy there that's a little bit out of control and I really don't understand that particularly.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster