Hennigar’s Farm Market in Greenwich ordered to move flower beds

Wendy Elliott, Kings County News
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‘The department has a responsibility to make the road safe for all’: provincial spokeswoman

GREENWICH - Forget the hillside full of colourful flowers next year, says Greenwich farmer Doug Hennigar.

Traffic is busy along Highway 1 beside the flowerbed near Hennigar’s Farm Market in Greenwich.

The province wants Hennigar’s Farm Market to push its u-pick flower garden back by about four feet after it deemed it was obstructing traffic.

The notice came two years after the province’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal paved the shoulder next to the bed. Hennigar understood, at that time, that his planting was in compliance.

“This takes a lot of energy,” he said. “I’m tired out at the end of the day and I’m gonna lose. There’s been no accidents associated with the flower hill. If there had been, I’d move it in a heart beat.”


Province concerned with safety

Pam Menchenton, the department spokesperson, says the province’s urgent concern is for the safety of road users.

“The province has a right of way that ensures vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists have enough room to safely share the road. The issue with the flower bed is that it covers too much of the right of way – almost the entire shoulder of the road - and forces pedestrians and cyclists, or drivers attempting to provide room for pedestrians and cyclists, to veer into the path of fast moving traffic. The department has a responsibility to make the road safe for all.”

There is a paved sidewalk on the opposite side of the street.


Ten days to move garden

Hennigar sighs as he says he can’t understand the issue coming up again. He received a letter from Kings area manager Glen Strang on June 20, giving him 10 days to move the edge of the bed back.

Area staff have met and communicated with the business owner many times over the years to discuss and try to resolve the issue, Menchenton said.

“As a last resort, the department will remove the section of the bed that encroaches on the road themselves, but it is sincerely hoped that a resolution can be reached before that needs to take place,” she said.

She called Hennigar’s Farm Market a long-standing, popular destination for many Nova Scotia families and said it is a great benefit to the community.

“Area staff certainly recognize that and have been working with the business owner through the years to address the serious safety issue created by having a flowerbed so close to a very busy stretch of road.”


Province not supporting agritourism: Hennigar

Hennigar, who is the second generation in his family to own the business, says the province has a funny way of supporting the agritourism the you-pick flower hill represents.

Strang’s letter says the Public Highways Act gives him the authority to remove the offending flowers, dispose of all of the material and bill Hennigar for the costs. For his part, Hennigar maintains that the earth is prime topsoil and can’t be removed.

He calls the move indicative of a lack of support for farming and says this kind of regulation “really sucks the energy out of the business.”

Frequent cyclist Jennifer Jones of We’re Outside Outdoor Outfitters in Wolfville doesn’t understand the problem with the shoulder because it is paved by the flowerbed, where nearby the shoulder is composed of loose gravel.

A safety hazard at that stretch of the highway, she said, never even crossed her mind.

Reader’s Digest chose the Greenwich market as Canada’s best Farmer’s Stand in 2008. It has been in operation since 1948.

Organizations: Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal

Geographic location: Greenwich, Nova Scotia, Wolfville Canada

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Recent comments

  • James Hindle
    January 30, 2015 - 13:40

    There always seems to be some bully in a position somewhere in the government with a chip on their shoulder. Maybe the pecking order wasn't working in their favor, so they decide to flex their administrative muscle on some silly situation, creating unnecessary problems and frustration for some, otherwise innocent, citizen.

  • Realistic
    July 02, 2014 - 07:05

    So what would be there if there was not a flower bed? Most likely a ditch - as with 95% of the roads. I think I would rather have a flower bed to run into than a ditch.

  • dmacm
    July 01, 2014 - 12:10

    Mr. Hennigar Please know the general public appreciates your wonderful work and all the effort you put into the garden. The thing is our governments, social systems, bureaucracies live in a world where individuality is anathema. There is no fighting this self-serving segment of society. They have bent all the rules to serve their ignorance and power tripping style of life and, it is impossible for them to even contemplate a breath of fresh air let alone a 'free pick' flower garden alongside a highway.

  • Pam Schofield
    June 30, 2014 - 13:22

    Perhaps the DOT should be more concerned about the numerous pot holes that cause a danger to both motorists and cyclist rather than some flowers.