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Published on Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Residents, Council oppose LCBO store closure

Petition draws hundreds of signatures opposing shutdown set for July 15

Residents, Council oppose LCBO store closure
Downtown LCBO store set to close July 15
By Nathan Howes, Oakville Beaver

The impending closure of a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store in downtown Oakville is not sitting well with residents or Town council.

The LCBO recently announced it would be closing its store at 276 Lakeshore Rd. E. in July — with the last day of operation set for Saturday, July 15.

Residents and local business groups have expressed concern to Council the closure would take business and traffic out of the downtown during major renovations to the downtown streetscape, according to a statement from Oakville Mayor Rob Burton’s office.

Those living in several seniors’ facilities nearby have also shared their concerns regarding accessibility, should there be no replacement.

“Council understands the LCBO operates as a business and will respond to market demands,” said Burton.

“Oakville residents have clearly demonstrated to us that the demand for a downtown location exists. Now, we need to convey that to the decision-makers at the LCBO.”

Petition launched

A group of Oakville residents has launched a petition to ask LCBO to reconsider the closure.

The group is collecting signatures online and door-to-door, and had accumulated 512 online and another 300 to 400 in-person, as of Tuesday, June 27.

Oakville’s Jan Feberwee, who initiated the petition, said he is upset about the closure because he believes the store is “essential” to downtown residents.

With other retailers closing shop in the area in recent years, this shutdown is particularly hard, he added.

“We felt the closure of the LCBO store, which is really a magnet for people to come into town, further deteriorates the situation,” said Feberwee.

There are also mobility issues for many to access the LCBO’s Cornwall Road store, Feberwee said, as there is a large population of seniors living downtown who rely on the proximity of the Lakeshore Road East store.

“For them to drive over to the newer store on Cornwall Road is a problem,” said Feberwee.

“As a group, we really feel the LCBO has a responsibility to keep the store downtown. While it isn’t making the same level of profit as other LBCO stores, it is certainly making a profit, I would imagine.”

On Thursday, June 22 and Tuesday, June 27, the Oakville Beaver received statements from the LCBO, which cited rental rates as a factor in the store’s closure.

The Lakeshore Road East store, like most LCBO locations, is leased, but the property owner offered no comment.

“These kinds of decisions are not easy ones and are not made without careful consideration of many factors,” stated the LCBO June 27.

“It was not sustainable for the LCBO given that over the last seven years, area customers have increasingly preferred to make their LCBO purchases at our flagship store, located less than two kilometres away.”

The LCBO is now redirecting downtown customers to its flagship store at 321 Cornwall Rd.

“The flagship location offers customers a significantly larger product selection, longer hours of operation and is located less than two kilometres from the Lakeshore Road site,” LCBO stated on June 22.

“Our community-based flagship store also provides customers with ample free parking, a tasting bar, access to exclusive products and has six product consultants, who are committed to providing responsible and knowledgeable service to customers.”

On Monday, June 26, Feberwee and two other residents brought forward the petition and their concerns to Council, which supported their efforts through a motion it passed.

Burton committed to penning a letter to LCBO senior management and Oakville MPP and Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to express concerns council and the community has about the closure, as well as asking the LCBO to reassess its decision to close the Lakeshore location without considering options for another downtown store.

Part of the Council motion stated the presence of a downtown LCBO store acts as a “positive draw to the retail core and its demise will result in reduced shoppers to downtown.”

“I know this is nearest and dearest to a lot of the community’s heart,” said Ward 3 Town Councillor Nick Hutchins, at Council, critical of the LCBO decision to move and suggesting more notification and discussion is needed.

Residents are also encouraged to undertake a letter-writing and social media campaign that calls on the LCBO to reconsider its decision to close the Lakeshore Road East location.

To read and/or sign the LCBO store closure petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/the-lcbo-petition-to-retain-the-lcbo-store-in-downtown-oakville?recruiter=735765725&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

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