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Big-city bright LCBO gives wrong message


lcbo-at-nightLast spring I wrote a Letter to the Editor in response to an 11th hour notice received pertaining to zoning by-law relief for the proposed new Picton LCBO store. In the letter, I expressed that regardless of façade, at the proposed zero setback the building would “stick out like a sore thumb”. Now with the building nearing completion, to be even more in our face, we have to endure no less than nine LCBO signs, lit nonetheless!

The impression this over-the-top display gives to visitors and our youth I’ll leave to you to judge!
Based on the plastering of advertising on the windows of the Rossmore and Wellington stores, I anticipate the same for the oversized glass bullnoze of the Picton store – it will look like a convoluted billboard. But then the current gaping view of the interior lights, ducts, trusses, shelving and signage isn’t any better.
The building is a big city, ivory tower “here-it-is” design not a rural, small town “heritage” design – respectful of its neighbouring streetscape.

This out of scale, out of character building, located in what is described in the Picton Downtown Heritage District Plan as the “gateway” to the District makes a mockery of the Plan. All the public time, effort and cost to develop the Plan seems wasted, and the heritage obligations for those within the District seem very much inconsequential. (And by the way, parameters in the plan were to be recognized by developments on adjacent properties.)

Significant community objection to this venture last spring in response to the 11th hour by-law exemption notice was fruitless, municipal staff and politicians having encouraged and supported the venture up to that stage! In the future when zoning requirements and planning principles are being breached by a proposal, public input needs to be commissioned long before near final plans are established.
I assume there will be a ribbon cutting opening ceremony; may I recommend a black ribbon! And I encourage the public not to attend. This facility is nothing to celebrate.

Roger Bryant
proud resident of Picton West Main St.

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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  1. Cindy says:

    Well I hope if they get a new sign, like Marnie suggests, they get a permit……they didn’t have a permit, didn’t pay for a permit and weren’t fined for doing work without a permit for erecting their sign at their temporary location at the old Mac’s Milk store…. but then again, bylaws are only enforced on a complaint basis – reactive not proactive.

  2. Marnie says:

    All they need is a sign that reads Welcome to Boozeville – the place to lose those sobering thoughts.

  3. Mark Rose says:

    Want to know a conversation that no teens ever have?

    Teen 1: Wow, have you seen the new LCBO?
    Teen 2: Yes, it makes me want to drink so much underage booze now.

    Teen 1: Wow, now that you say that, me too.
    Teen 2: I never thought about drinking before, but now that we have a shiny new LCBO, I’m going to do it more than ever!

    And yeah, its 2016. Less people go to church because more people are smarter these days.

  4. Marnie says:

    Some local churches are struggling to keep their doors open but when a new booze store opens it is predicted it will draw quite a crowd.

  5. Susan says:

    Grand opening tomorrow, should be quite the event! I anticipate quite a crowd.

  6. wevil says:

    with all the whining about the LCBO maybe they should have just closed it up and not had any place to buy the spirits

  7. Susan says:

    Too funny!

  8. Marnie says:

    In Toronto it might be an architectural triumph. Here it is an overdone tail-wags-the-dog edifice that looks as if it wandered into town by mistake. Grotesque may be a bit of a stretch but it gives the general idea.

  9. Susan says:

    You don’t have to like it but describing it as grotesque is just way over the top!

  10. Young family of four says:

    New liquor store is a total eyesore, you can’t really see anything else, it’s so grotesque it’s hard to look away. Beach bum sign – I don’t have a strong opinion about these downtown signs, they are easy enough to notice or ignore, unlike the liquor store.

  11. Jo Anne says:

    The grand opening is on Wednesday April 20th. I’ve heard they’ve hired a caterer for the event!

  12. Emily says:

    Looks good, refreshing change for the Town stale look. May not be proper English but if anyone cares ask the English police! Lol

  13. Susan says:

    The new LCBO looks better every day. Such fine brick work surrounding the front. Parking behind was really smart and the house that was moved behind will be a nice business. This is progress.

  14. Chuck says:

    Emily; I have heard there has been a major water leak at the new plant for sometime. All of which the users would pay for. County has not released any information.

  15. Cindy says:

    Thanks, everyone! Appreciate the support….and the big, buttocks was on the old sign, as well.

  16. Marnie says:

    BTW Emily, how do you keep a “huge leak” from a poop plant top secret? It seems that something like this would raise a stink.

  17. Marnie says:

    The Bryant house has class, the LCBO not so much. The house was not built that close to the sidewalk originally. The road was widened.

  18. Emily says:

    Gary & John; I here there is a huge leak from our brand spanking new 30 Million poop plant. This hasn’t been released to the public. Big additional costs.

  19. Emily says:

    It is obvious the LCBO worked locally to deliver a quality product. You do not see the changes they made to this store in other Town’s such as Napanee. It actually sits not much closer to the street or larger than the Bryant house just up the street to the west.

  20. Mark says:

    For goodness sake, leave our Beach Bum alone. A business taxpayer here for years and taking up empty store space. This Council has a whole lot more to occupy their time. I thought the message was we are open for business! 3 Councilors were absent at the COW so perhaps when it comes to Council it will be a non issue. Might even be on cable to watch. What’s that date so we can watch live the shannigans?

  21. Marnie says:

    They did not name that store Beach Bum for nothing Paul.

  22. Susan says:

    LCBO is finalizing landscaping, paving stone and heritage limestone today. Look’s just fantastic. Such a welcome addition to our Town particularly to refurbish what was such a rundown, glum corner. Much safer for all as well.

  23. lou says:

    lol paul! haha
    i didnt notice it before……

    so i just looked at the sign………….
    too funny!

  24. Paul says:

    LOL I guess no one has notice the large buttocks on the new sign…

  25. lou says:

    Beach bum is in the designated heritage zone, and Lcbo is not in that zone….this is why.
    rules for downtown stores.

    i think beach bum sign is fine. clean , fresh, .

    i guess there are rules and need to follow them (is shades of colors in the rules?)

    i think the rules should be Fix the empty store front signs etc etc.and the faded run down fronts
    thats not attractive.
    if they are trying to make down town attractive.

    just my 2 ole cents

  26. Marnie says:

    A complaint about the Beach Bum sign seems out of line considering our new in-your-face liquor store. A heritage streetscape makes sense to a point but when a store owner is told to consider something in pastels it’s taking it too far. It’s a real town not a Robert Kincaid village. Beach equals sun equals bright. There are bigger eyesores on Main Street that the Beach Bum sign. It sounds as if council could be on the way to vacant store fronts with its Main Street makeover plan.

  27. Susan Rose says:


  28. Fred says:

    I guess if the Beach Bum sign is too large and colourful to conform, the LCBO signs will be coming down soon.

  29. Dennis Fox says:

    Gary – In response to your question. I think the best response I can give is for you to check out the Quinte News site ( and come to your own conclusions. However, my take on it is just what you have stated – “someone” now finds the sign to be “offensive” because it does not reflect our heritage. But to be clear, I believe that council still has to confirm the findings of the Heritage Committee – which makes the Mayor’s comments even more of a puzzle, if council hasn’t dealt with the matter yet. The thing is, considering that this sign has been the same for 25 years – the OMB would side with the business owner. So why waste tax dollars on a non-issue?

  30. Adam says:

    your point?

    the heritage appeal only applies to the town after easter and before thanksgiving. Picton has shown that gentrification can work. however there is a limit. having grown up in Picton as a Child/teen wherin there were few youth programs that did not involve praying beforehand, I wonder how long it will take for Picton to become too expensive for the people who are from there.

    shall we add more stuff near the LCBO and rename the area WoDo PiON? look up SoDO SOPA for more info.

  31. Marnie says:

    Susan, some of our tax dollars went to save the Crystal Palace a few years ago. Today it’s the venue for many popular community events. It was a good investment. I believe that some tax money also was spent on repairing the Old Boys Memorial Entrance. We have enough ugly, squat buildings without character in town. We don’t need a Main Street full of them.

  32. Gary says:

    Bravo John. And thanks for bringing up the blood sucking s::t plant that was built on a hill for $30,000,000! I dare anyone to name a like wised municipality that has spent that amount of money for waste let alone construct it uphill incurring huge energy costs. And while your at it please find another like wised municipality paying the water & waste water rates we are. I await.

  33. John says:

    Although I don’t live in picton now it is my home town. Times are changing and we all will need to deal with it. I’ve passed it many time visiting family and it’s not that bad. Sure it may not fit the theam of the town but neither does all the new subdivisions and the water plant or whatever is is off of Pitt street. Many areas I played in as a kid are gone and the big draw to the county now are the numerous winery’s that are taking over farm land. So I guess I’m saying suck it up. If it bothers people that much they can move. They can avoid it you can around that town without ever seeing it.

  34. Gary says:

    Dennis, are you saying Council or the Mayor finds that sign or business name offensive. I hope that in this day and age that is not the case.

  35. Dennis Fox says:

    First of all, I don’t really have anything against the new LCBO building – other than I believe it could have been better designed to fit into the surrounding neighbourhood and on a personal level I think it should have been set back more from the sidewalk. However, if you have been following the local news, our Heritage Committee and Town Staff are pressuring a local business (Beach Bum) to change their signage – because it doesn’t convey the heritage of PEC!! Really and the LCBO does? Beach Bum has been downtown for 25 years with the same signage. Our mayor is quoted on the Quinte News site as telling the owners to take it to the OMB if they don’t like the sign by-law. This cavalier attitude on the part of council is becoming far too common – the size of council and now this. It isn’t their money being spent on OMB challenges – it is ours! I would like to see a little more thought put into such comments before they are made – and a sign by-law that makes sense.

  36. Susan says:

    You are missing the point Marnie. Unless it is a Municipal building your tax dollars are not putting a dime into preserving heritage. If your taxes were increased to assist private owners with enormous costs to restore the old, are you game? If not like so many others (like the old brick church) you really do not have a right to complain.

  37. Marnie says:

    Luckily there are some people who get the point of it all and don’t object to paying to preserve heritage buildings. Without them our town would not have much appeal. I’d rather see my tax dollars go to preserve an historic old building than to help fund some of the initiatives we have supported in recent years.

  38. Susan says:

    Heritage comes with huge costs. For those with strong opinions have them ante up. Put a couple hundred on the tax bill and see how much they love the old look. It’s easy to chirp when you aren’t paying.

  39. Chuck says:

    There are a number of pretty run down old buildings on Main. Heritage preservation takes money. I own and have restored a red brick Victorian home in Picton. It takes a lot of dough! I love it but could have built a new one cheaper. People who do not have a red cent invested seem to have a lot say about preserving heritage. You can’t save every old structure and some new with the old is ok as well. And what is vulgar about the big homes west of Wellington? Our ancestors built pretty big. They are attractive and certainly add bigtime to the tax base.

  40. Marnie says:

    You either get the concept of heritage preservation or you don’t. The builders of the LCBO slapped a curved front on that ugly box and nodded at heritage by supposedly reflecting the curved front on the McFarland building. The Edward Building is proof that new construction and recognition of a heritage streetscape can be compatible. If the LCBO represents the coming trend then Picton’s Main Street one day will lose its individuality. That’s not progress but a step backward.

  41. Pam says:

    Well as another 30 year resident who has been witnessing the steady gentrification of the County I am not surprised by this new building. In some ways it is safer for parking and clean ….. And yes an indicator of yet more big box and flash well on its way …. Echoes the huge estates – talk about vulgar (!) – appearing along the lake west of Wellington or along the Hayward Long Reach. It is a different time now !

  42. Adam says:

    Hogwash, its go big or go home, I’m tired of run down buildings all over the place. 60 years ago people knew how to build things and did a good job at it and since then no one knows how to build something cool like this, all people know how to do now a days is repair the cool buildings from the hard working days and now their efforts are in vein cause the buildings look like crap from years of wear and tear. but you can’t blame the LC for stepping up first cause no one knows how to buy anything other than alchol.

  43. Joe Six Pack says:

    Anyone notice the trend when it comes to LCBOs?

    They provincial government is renovating as many LCBOs, as quick as possible, and as big as possible, because they plan PRIVITISING them within the next 5 years.

    So why not go totally over board and spend as much tax payer money, so they can recoup even more when they got to sell them to the highest bidder in 5 years.

    Bet your local Trudeau Potshop won’t be quite as spectacular.

  44. judy kennedy says:

    Yes, it is not a heritage style. There has never been much regard for that in this county. Just look around.
    I am more distressed by some of the atrocious spelling and murder of the English language on this site. Talk about heritage.

  45. Marnie says:

    Being of a different opinion does not make anyone a whiner. If you like the look of the new LCBO and find it an addition to the town then bravo. Those with a different view are entitled to their opinion. Some people have little or no concern with aesthetics and favour big, flashy and over-the-top above tasteful and reflective of surroundings.

  46. Dave says:

    This shrine to drinking is the most in – your – face building in Picton. I”m a long time resident and I will no doubt buy product here but I don’t like it. A more modest building and a small private outlet in the north end of the town would serve the people better and likely would have provided more jobs if that is what some of the short sighted people here see as being so important.

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