Doug Hennigar backed by cyclists in Wolfville flower dispute
Farm market owner says his flower bed is being threatened by a 'bureaucratic boondoggle'
The owner of a popular farm market in the Annapolis Valley, which has been ordered to remove part of a roadside garden, says he's not going to comply.
Doug Hennigar said he's caught in a "bureaucratic boondoggle" and has been told by the provincial Department of Transportation to move the flower bed near Hennigar’s Farm Market back by 1.2 metres so there's more room on the shoulder of Highway 1, near Wolfville.
Hennigar said he's been told if he doesn't comply by Monday, the province will bring in a crew to move the flower bed — which has been in place for nearly 30 years — and he will be billed for the work.
It will cost between $2,000 and $2,500 if provincial workers remove the flowers and pave the shoulder or put gravel there, said Glen Strang, the area manager for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.
Some cyclists who ride on Highway 1 don't have a problem with the flower bed by Hennigar's Farm Market. In fact, they are fans of it.
"There's a lot bigger issues than that flower bed," said Bruce MacLeod. "I'd rather fall on that flower bed if I had to fall than on some gravel they intend to replace it with."
MacLeod said that for the two kilometres of roadway preceding the flower bed, there is virtually no shoulder. He added the flower bed strip actually has a wider shoulder.
Jim Shatford rides by Hennigar's frequently and he is also perplexed at the Department of Transportation's actions.
"I think it's extreme," he said. "There is no pavement underneath that section of the flowerbed, so if they move it back, it's not going to achieve anything."
'Better than most of the ditches'
Hennigar said people have been stopping by to lend their support for the decades-old garden.
He doesn't believe his garden poses a risk for cyclists.
"Over here the flower bed is raised off the highway a little bit so if it was a dangerous situation, somebody would fall into the flower bed and come up smelling like a rose, really," Hennigar said Monday.
"It's a lot better than most of the ditches in Nova Scotia that are really deep and dangerous."
Hennigar said the province has bigger problems to worry about — including patching Highway 1, which is still riddled with potholes after this year's harsh winter.
"We've had a bad winter — not to the fault of the Transportation Department, they're got a job to do in trying to fix up our highways. I think there are a lot more things that should take a higher priority with them," Hennigar said.
Strang said the department has received several complaints from cyclists about that stretch of the road.
He said the road is narrow and the garden is almost to the edge of the paved surface. He said the last complaint was received a few weeks ago.
"There's not a lot of room there," he said. "It's sort of coming down a grade on the inside of almost a blind turn."
Strang said the department is only asking Hennigar to remove about two rows of flowers.
In 2008, Reader's Digest listed Hennigar's as the best farmer's stand in Canada.