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City Council Lets Loose with Buzzsaw In Battlefield Park
posted (December 16, 2008)

The street side vendors on Albert Street have tonight run out of time and out of options. Last week we told you about their opposition to the move to relocate them to the Battlefield Park. Well now they longer have options because the city council has already built new booths for them and they may be forced off Albert Street as early as this weekend. Keith Swift has the story.

Keith Swift Reporting,
To make space for the vendors - this morning workmen from the City Council began limbing the giant tree that has towered over the Battlefield Park on Albert Street for all the 53 years that Hazel King has known herself.

Hazel King, 53 Years Old
“From I dah small gial, those trees were there. Those trees are history, those trees and shade and it beautifies the park; all parks have trees. So when I came out here this evening and I saw it, I said how is it so peeled. I said to go and take a close look and the further I was coming, I noticed it was peeled and when I got close I noticed they cut down the tree. That is history, from I small I know those trees have been there.”

Councillor Wayne Usher says tree wasn’t cut down – it was limbed and that it is all in the name of progress.

Wayne Usher, City Councillor
“We are clearing the area so that we don’t have the bird droppings from the trees because that will then interfere with the second thing which is to move the food vendors into the park temporarily and third thing is we’re clearing the street sides for the construction work to continue. Those are the three things and all of it is tied into one. We have to move the vendors to finish the sidewalks before we can do the paving of the street next week. So we’re clearing the sidewalks, we’ve invited them to come into the park and we will provide the booths, the temporary booths. Then we have cut the trees so that the droppings from the birds doesn’t present a public health issue and that’s really what is happening.”

Keith Swift,
You said you’re inviting them to come in the park but they really don’t have a choice.

Wayne Usher,
“They do in that they have to come off the street at some point in time for the sidewalk to be finished. They can choose to maybe lock up shop for the time that they are doing the sidewalk so they have a choice.”

For Janet McGregor – who sells fruits at the corner of Albert and Church Streets - it will be a tough one – since she says the booths are too small.

Janet McGregor, Fruit Vendor
“I done used to right here on the street so I think that the spot there is too small for us. All of us cannot fit in there, my table is too big and I can’t fit in the little thing.”

Keith Swift,
Councillor Usher has told me that you guys don’t have a choice, unu have to move.

Janet McGregor,
“But the place they build is too small, if they made it bigger it would be different.”

Keith Swift,
So are you going to move or close down shop?

Janet McGregor,
“Well I can’t close my shop because I have to maintain my kids too. I have a family to maintain. I can’t stop, this is my work, this is my job.”

Councilor Wayne Usher says that as of tonight the homeless who sleep in Battlefield Park will be relocated to the Gann’s Rest House. We should mention that the relocation for the vendors is only temporary. After the sidewalk is complete – the vendors will be allowed to return to the sidewalk alongside the park.

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