Confusion continues for garden centres

CKTB NEWS - Garden Centres

Premier Doug Ford hinted Friday, that a garden centre announcement was coming and it had many in the industry hoping it  would be the good news they were waiting for which was to be able to open their doors to the public. 

However, when the announcement came it was that garden centres and nurseries could open only for curbside pick-up and delivery. 

Paul Bongers Owner and Operator of Country Basket in Niagara Falls says it came as a bit of a surprise because that was what they've been doing for the last five weeks.  

Bongers says what's happening in his industry right now is confusing.

"The Premier came out and said he'd make this big announcement with regard to garden centres, and the second he made it I got a text from another garden centre friend asking if he was correct in that the Premier just said we can all do what we have been doing for the last five weeks and I said yes" 

Bongers says the problem is some garden centres interpreted the message their own way and he says one local garden centre in Stevensville opened Saturday.

"The rules on the garden centres are convoluted, one of the garden centres in Ridgeway called me yesterday because he knew about this other one opening and he said people are coming to my door and they're upset I won't let them in, because this other centre had opened, he said I'm going to go and start buying boxes of lettuce and selling food so I can open my doors, it's come to that" 

Under the Ontario Government's list for essential business in the agricultural and food production section it says businesses that produce agricultural products including plants, can be open. 

Bongers says his business has decided to be responsible corporate citizens and have chosen to stay closed, adding they'd like to be part of the solution not part of a problem.

He's hoping the government will take steps to clarify and level the playing field for their industry. 

"There's a grocery store very close to us that says garden centre open, I have an area out in my nursery all outside, I need to know what the difference between what I have and let's say what a grocery store is doing." 

This is Country Basket's 25th year in business and Bongers says "this isn't how they saw their celebration season going" but adds they'll continue to do the curbside pick-up for their business until it is safe to reopen. 

To hear Paul Bongers' full interview on 610CKTB, click here.