WOLFVILLE, N.S. – After almost three decades in business, the owner of Hennigar’s Farm Market in Wolfville says he’s ready to pull the plug on his U-pick flower garden.
Doug Hennigar says he feels “tired and beat up” after a dispute with the province over the safety of his roadside garden.
He says the transportation department gave him 10 days to push it back from the road after a complaint from a cyclist.
The flower garden is on the side of a busy stretch of road, and Hennigar says he pushed it back about 4 feet from the edge of the white line two years ago to meet a provincial requirement. He says his garden is within regulations.
“They wanted me to move the flower bed back another 4 feet from the edge of the pavement and I wasn’t interested,” he said. “We’ve had it for 29 years now and all of a sudden it seems to be a safety issue.”
Henniger said his refusal is a matter of principle, and that in all the time the flower garden has been there, there has never been any incidents at the site.
It’s a stance some people in the area support.
“I think it’s a bit absurd,” said resident Rebbeca Knock. “To my knowledge, I haven’t seen any accidents outside of the gardens here and we enjoy driving past them every week, so I think it’s a bit ridiculous.”
Resident Shane Maclean said he thinks the situation is “crazy”, and the province “should be focusing more on potholes and the conditions of the road [rather] than the garden.”
The government is adamant that it’s a matter of safety. On Wednesday morning, the deputy minister for transportation and the area’s MLA met with Hennigar to resolve the dispute.
“They did come up with a compromise and that is to remove the portion of the flower beds within the right-of-way so they are going to do that after the growing season,” said Glen Strang, the area manager. “Mr. Hennigar is going to be allowed to maintain the bed the way it is now until that time.”
Strang said the department would remove about one foot of the garden instead of the four previously requested, and will be covering the costs.
Hennigar says while he is pleased both sides have reached an understanding, this year will be his garden’s last.
Keith Irving, the MLA for Kings South, says he hopes that Hennigar will have a change of heart.
“I don’t think the solution that we solved here has any significant impact on the gardens, so that’s strictly a business decision on his part,” he said. “I think everyone including myself hopes the garden stays”
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