HALIFAX — Some 24 odd months ago construction began on Fenwick Street in Halifax’ South End, the site has fast evolved into a fantasyland for every four-year-old boy – excavators, diggers and dynamite littered the street.
But when workers discovered an unexpected underground river during the early phases of construction, everything stopped.
Here we are, two years later, and my front yard is still a 40-foot canyon. My house still shakes on a daily basis from the dynamite blasts. And my neighbours are still pissed off.
But I’m not. In fact, the workers are threatening to be finished the roadwork by Christmas. And I don’t feel too good about it. I have a routine. Each day I throw the door open. I toss my compost. And I mount my bike to greet the same group of workers out front.
A while back, we began exchanging pleasantries. But today we know each other. They even remark on my absent boyfriend – yes, we broke up. These construction workers have single-handedly woven a new fabric for this little two-block community.
And Alex Duckworth (ya, she’s my sister) and Alexandra Pook are capitalizing on it. They too are shifting perspectives in our hood.
Unemployed and 22, these vixens sling hot dogs and burgers at lunch hour – just for the workers. The men and one woman congregate in our driveway at noon. They giggle. They hammer Cokes. They inhale questionable meat. And they wail cigarettes.
Fenwick Street is suddenly no nightmare at all – not to the workers; and not to us. It’s our new community. It’s a community that fosters symbiotic relationships that transcend traditional social codes. Imagine that – a concept for the South End.
So after witnessing countless nasty words directed at construction workers by neighbours in this hood of mine, it’s high time we invite a new perspective. May we begin to see the others as people and projects who make up a whole – parts of a whole which share a goal to make a difference, to do better, to fix our ugly street.
Oh by the way, Steve (the construction worker) even helped carry Alex’ groceries home today. She’s on crutches.
Together, we are Fenwick Street. We are Halifax.
photo by Anna Duckworth