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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. Christine Elsbury says:

    I am not saying it’s ugly I am saying there’s no need for all this royalty look. And the McFarland building kitty corner was built in a newer time but at least they didn’t try to be the center attraction on the edge of the down town main street sector. And yes we do have more important things to worry about like HWY 49. but we can still give our opinion’s makes us feel better 😀

  2. Giovanna says:

    I am not sure what the complaint is about…neither does the MacDonald’s nor the Tim Hortons have a heritage look in Picton….these are franchises..they are not expected to have a heritage look…and especially here where the heritage look was not enforced yrs ago it’s not gonna happen… Picton fails to preserve a heritage look overall..banks should be in heritage like Stratford…but the problem is the people working in the municipality offices are city people..and they don’t care about the heritage look…and that is a reality…They went as far as allowing the demolishing of an old church on Main St that was still in great condition..This town is run by outsiders…city people are buying properties and doing as they please to make their investment a quick profit…sorry but Picton sold its soul to money hungry people…and I don’t see any solidarity to stop the nonsense

  3. Christine Elsbury says:

    I know we were in need of a larger facility but this is a little over board. They could have done a new building with an old like to it. Maybe that would have looked a little more like out redneck town.

  4. Tj says:

    I like that mark rose Wouldn’t the people complain if they just shut down if the county didn’t approve. Lol

  5. Chuck says:

    As non elected score keeper I went back through the 44 posts and tallied without double counting views from posters. Results;

    Like Design – 14

    Dislike Design – 4

  6. wevil says:

    it seems that many people sit back and whine about everything that everyone wants to do maybe they should get some cheese to go with their whine building looks great well done

  7. Bill sween says:

    listening to all of your comments I have a pretty good idea who has lived here all their lives and who is new to the area. Say what you will about change and progression… Picton was a very special place to grow up and I really don’t think it will be the same in another ten years and I know the people who moved here and built very large an elaborate dream cottages call it progress… When everyone looks and acts the same things loose what made them special.

  8. Gary says:

    The original design was changed after input. It was altered to present the rounded front facing Main St to fit in with that presented by the McFarland building it faces. I imagine when Harvey built that it was viewed as out of character as well at the time. Such a daring move!

  9. Marnie says:

    Didn’t have to look far Susan.

  10. truecountygirl says:

    Wow, utterly rediculous. First of all most of the people complaining about our new liquor store probably aren’t even from around here, it seems to be these people that move here and try to tell us what the county is all about! Second, the LCBO provides Picton with more well paid job oppertunities for our community, that alone makes me feel that an updated and bigger facility should be welcomed, especially with the chance it may create more jobs! Also, do we need to be reminded that we are living in 2016, times change, styles change, if we look back to a time before we even had a liqour store it was probably the same thing; a bunch of uptight individuals who cannot accept change probably didn’t want one here to begin with. Not that many in this community care about the younger generation, because we seem to cater to tourist rather then the local people, but if asked, non of them probably see anything wrong with this store. So no, it doesn’t fit in with the rest of main st., but who cares, a big part of the world we live in today is about individuality and innovation, but here are people on here complaining because the liqour store doesn’t conform to what the rest of Picton is and looks to modern. It is what it is, the building is already built. It is not like they are going to tear it down and start over because of the complaints, so suck it up and either except it or stay out of it, but we all know the individuals complaining will shop there just the same! Honestly, some people have birthing better to do then tear everything apart!

  11. Susan says:

    Finally found someone to hang your hat on. Would appear that is the minority opinion. I thought the rounded facade was to match the existing street scape like the former McFarland building directly across the street. Hmm!

  12. Marnie says:

    Agreed,Vic. The building is out of step with Picton’s Main Street and greatly at odds with the “makeover” now being promoted.

  13. Kim says:

    Seriously people are there not more important things in life then to worry about the size of a building and how “glitzy” it is, and if it may or may not represent what some people might deem important in this society, really? It’s 2016, not 1900, people drink, get over it. Who cares how big the building is, do you really think it will ruin the integrity of this town? For the majority of us no, it won’t. I’ve lived in this county my entire life, and one new large building with fancy lighting, isn’t going to change my opinion of this county. It’s beautiful place to live. There are good people who live here, beautiful scenic landscapes, lovely old buildings. It certainly hasn’t lost that old country charm, because of one new building. Life is too short too to worry about such trivial things, and bring such negativity to your life. The building is up, it’s not going away, so complaining about it, isn’t going to change anything. Except make those who are complaining about it be filled with hate and negativity. I’m sorry but I choose to live my life with a positive outlook, so no surprise here, I like the building.

  14. Vic says:

    I think the real issue here with folks who are disappointed in the new LCBO building is the fascade. I believe that the town of /Newcastle up the 401 has a building bylaw that says that the facades of new buildings on main street must “fit ” the streetscape. For example the Shoppers Drugmart there is Victorian red brick with whitish stone sill work like the Edward Building here on Picton’s Main street. Looks great and yet the inside is your typical Shoppers Drug Mart layout/interior. I praise the Edward Building’s owners/builders. They had the right vision! Picton’s new LCBO is just as out of place in the County as Wellington’s LCBO. Both were chances to make our County Town more unique and attractive. Now its just the same cookie-cutter kind of facade you find in Toronto. Shades of Canada Post! Ho hum! Thanks for your letter Mr.Bryant!

  15. Heather says:

    Some people have nothing better to do but complain,

  16. hockeynan says:

    I think it is very nice.As for running into it,if you can’t see that building you shouldn’t be driving

  17. Lisa says:

    Love it. Great way to step it up

  18. Jack Rabbit says:

    I think the design looks great for the times. I think we should worry about other things instead of a building. Most of the people complaining will still go there and shop….

  19. Susan says:

    Beauty or ugliness Marnie, there lies the question. I have spoken with many that believe it is fantastic and a much needed improvement for the Town. I for one believe it is a significant improvement over what was there prior. I don’t understand why anyone would get all bent over this other than change of any kind is difficult for some.

  20. Marnie says:

    Sorry, but glorifying the LCBO by describing it as having a magnificent entrance and applauding this ugly edifice because it provides jobs seems over the top. The old LCBO provided jobs without dominating the streetscape and annoying the neighbours. Jobs are important but so are aesthetics. A new,modern LCBO, fine,but this building looks like a temple to Jack Daniels.

  21. Dennis Fox says:

    I don’t believe anyone has suggested that they don’t want the LCBO here. Instead, hasn’t the discussion only been about the size and design process of the new structure. I very much support those men and women who work there and have families to support. They had nothing to do with the building and how it was built.

  22. Susan says:

    What is the cost? No cost to the municipality just increased property taxes coming in. No cost to the residents, just a new building and a more pleasant shopping experience. What’s the negative here?

  23. Marnie says:

    That’s what Belleville must have been thinking Pearl,when they welcomed a casino – jobs at any cost.

  24. Janet says:

    Wonder how long until someone drives through the very large rounded windows?!

  25. Pearl says:

    Doesn’t the LCBO provide well paying jobs with benefits to many county residents? That makes it a very welcome guest in my mind. The size and quality of the store may also encourage tourists to buy in Picton rather than in their home community. If they stop at the store they may also shop for groceries as well. I think every new job is n the area makes it more possible that our young people will be able to stay in our community. It is a little ironic that an area that was once a centre for temperance has become a growing wine region, but at least we are growing and the tax base is increasing. Let’s support people who are willing to invest in business that does not destroy the environment or demolish heritage buildings.

  26. Gary says:

    An unlikely target given location, lighting and state of the art alarm systems.

  27. Gord says:

    Wonder how long in tell police get called that there is a break in at the LCBO

  28. Sandar says:


    . . . Ameliasburgh vs. the old boys club very interesting

    . . . who will we find mending the “Emperor’s (Mayor’s) new clothes”
    . . . or uncovering admin.’s back door deals

    Follow the money

  29. Susan says:

    Can’t wait for the whole of public to really see how some Councilors conduct themselves. Of interest will be the Athol rep, and of course the Ameliasburgh “trio”!

  30. Sandar says:

    It’s all be said before except > a lot of alcohol will go through those doors isn’t that what is needed for tourist along with all the wineries.

    And OOh, “live streaming of council” is set to begin end of April.

  31. David says:

    Some positive points in this thread I agree with. We are fortunate that the owner modified the plans several times, including moving the new building further back. It is a modern structure with real brick and lots of glass which highlights the busiest corner in town.
    I am always in favour of historical restoration but there was nothing there to restore, so for a modern building Picton benefits. And the owner did save the house at great expense, which will now have a new purpose. Win win! Agreed, the original planning and consultation process was too quick. Luckily the owner was as flexible as he was or it could have been worse!

  32. Marnie says:

    No liquor store ever had “a magnificent entry”. That building is no Taj Mahal.

  33. Susan says:

    The new store is a breath of fresh air upon a rather drab and barren corner. It also reflects faith in the local economy. The owner could have knocked the brick house down but no he moved it at huge cost. Could have built a box store with no character but no worked and made changes so it had a magnificent entry and rounded display on the corner. Sometimes you can’t please everyone.

  34. Marnie says:

    That was not a hug, Vincent. I think it is simply ingesting whatever is in it path.

  35. Vincent says:

    I find it quite beautiful: I love the way it hugs that corner. No disrespect to those who toil to maintain heritage, your frustration is understandable.

  36. Marnie says:

    Mark that new LCBO is a big step backward, not forward. It is very out of place in that neighbourhood with its glitzy front and gigantic size. It appears to be lumbering off the curb to swallow the intersection. A new building yes, but not something like this. It is tasteless and no effort was made to make it compatible with the neighbourhood. If bigger is better we have the best LCBO in eastern Ontario. Too bad that it creates such an ugly approach to the downtown.

  37. Paul says:

    So while most folks scrape by and try to make ends meet the Province builds 3 count em three new liquor stores in The County, the Picton site being the crowning jewel all the while running a huge deficit and you guys are like ain’t it perty…lol whats the saying “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

  38. Mark says:

    LCBO a fine build and truly respectful. We need some new in this Town! The land owner even moved the house at his expense! The old Royal would be gone as well unless we were so very fortunate to have someone putting 10+ millions into it. The alternative was a Main St parking lot. You save the old you can afford but to survive you also move forward. Our ancestors realized this.

  39. Gary says:

    Well Dennis, we have beat the community input, surveys, committee memberships to death haven’t we? How many times do you have to be ignored until the message that what you think and desire just doesn’t matter at Shire Hall. Isn’t that why we have an OMB on deck to provide voter equity and remove the Ameliasburgh power inbalance?

  40. Dennis Fox says:

    Gary makes a very valid point about people’s reaction to the new LCBO. But to be fair to those people, this building represents a planning fiasco to some extent – the municipality did not follow the planning process in notifying surrounding property owners in the proper manner. If you recall, approval was given before the public were even aware. When asked for input re: setbacks and design – it appears that input went ignored and that the original plan was just rubber stamped. While I can’t speak for those people, those who I have spoken with feel that the building represents just another screw up and it could have been a nicer looking building that could have complimented the surrounding neighborhood better. I agree with them. While it is a nicer building than what is in Wellington and Rossmore – neither of those are situated in their downtown areas. More care should have been given to the design of the Picton building – that is the real issue here – the results of a flawed process.

  41. Gary says:

    Boy, people can jump on quickly criticizing the new booze store. It is stellar and we are fortunate to have been provided such a structure. The lighting is all high efficient LED. The store is built to be highly efficient. I guess some wanted the dull and boring box style like in Rossmore. You cannot move forward with old run down buildings and every old one can’t be saved. How soon we forget the ugly eye sore the former LCBO was.

  42. Paul Cole says:

    A lot of folks are struggling to pay their electric bills look at the LCBO all lite up they’ll need an extra generating plant fired up to keep the lights on there…

  43. Marnie says:

    You have it bang on Dennis. Why bother about the public’s ideas for revitalization? Just give the public the illusion of having a voice, then proceed as planned. If the new LCBO is an example of sound planning and public input it fails miserably. Approaching it from the west it looks like the bow of a giant ship,a Titanic in its own right.

  44. Dennis Fox says:

    If you recall the controversy about this design prior to approval, it makes you wonder if anyone in the planning dept. was listening?? Perhaps things like a different colour brick, plus nicer brick work, a deeper setback allowing room for some bushes and flowers – and wouldn’t a large clock on the exterior corner have looked good – giving the building a more established and “small town” appearance? Just ideas, but ones that show a lot more could have been done to improve the appearance of this building, and at very little cost. What’s the point of downtown revitalization, if the approach is going to be that anything is good enough?? I hope I’m wrong.

  45. Gary says:

    Just may be the most elaborate LCBO in the Province! In little old Picton.

  46. Emily says:

    Never ever heard a complaint about a turtle!

  47. hockeynan says:

    If it’s not turtles it’s liquor stores

  48. Marnie says:

    It’s a monstrosity – too big in every way, too much building for the size of the site and two much signage. Were they afraid someone would mistake it for a church?

  49. Fred says:

    To many it is over the top. Driving through an older town and then WOW look at this palace! Right or wrongly it kinda sends a message of what is important to our society.

  50. Mark Rose says:

    Oh look. Something new to complain to about.

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