Kentville merchant generates interest with snow clearance qualms

Ashley Thompson
Published on January 7, 2016

Andrew Zebian, owner of the Phinney’s clothing store on Webster Street, hopes to see the Town of Kentville clearing more sidewalks within the downtown core this winter.

©Ashley Thompson

KENTVILLE - Andrew Zebian is willing to stick his neck out if it means patrons shopping in downtown Kentville won’t break theirs.

“Kentville is home to me now and I love Kentville and I want it to flourish,” stresses Zebian, owner of the Phinney’s clothing store on Webster Street.

“My opinion is you have to stand up and raise awareness to issues. If you don’t, there will be no change.”

Zebian turned to his clothing store’s Facebook page Dec. 29 to share his concerns about the Town of Kentville’s snow removal policy that requires merchants to clear sidewalks in front of downtown businesses.

“We are a commerce town and for the safety of the people who patronize the downtown area, the sidewalks should be clean from snow.If the adjacent towns and villages can keep their sidewalks clean with their own manpower, then I believe Kentville can too,” wrote Zebian, in the social media post that had 349 “likes” as of Jan. 7. “If that means trimming the budget from somewhere else, then start trimming.”

Zebian says he has noticed Town of Kentville equipment clearing nearby sidewalks, and he believes the machines should be used to clear all of the sidewalks within the downtown core.

“Obviously we have to help them as well and maintain it but I think they should be able to come in and (move) that little machine around pretty quick,” he says.

Zebian’s request, he says, is about fairness to all taxpaying merchants within the downtown shopping district, and safety. He believes sidewalks in front of vacant buildings, and areas left untended after the regular business hours could become safety risks.

“Whatever Kentville’s budget is for the year, that should be a main priority.”

In speaking with representatives of the town after making his concerns public, Zebian says he is satisfied his voice was heard and he’s willing to “wait and see what comes of it.”

He asks members of the public to focus on the positive change that can come from the discussion, and imagine how locals can work together to make improvements.

“I want (Kentville) to flourish,” he says. “You’ve got to stand up or nothing will change.”

Mayor Dave Corkum says the best way for merchants to voice concerns relating to town policies is by reaching out to a member of council directly, or communicating with the Kentville Development Corporation Limited (KDCL).

“We’re always looking at trying to improve our snow-clearing service, but we have to abide by what we have budgeted for,” explains Corkum.

That said, Corkum stresses that the policy in effect can be revisited if council learns that is what Kentville’s merchants want.

“That can be reviewed and changed if that’s what the majority of the business community feels should be done,” he says.