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New Liquor Store brings Boos?

Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell

Well, it looks like another of the County’s fine institutions is under fire. The venerable LCBO is taking heat from Picton locals for its plans to expand and improve the operation at its current Lake and Main location.
First we need to understand that the LCBO holds a formidable position in the hearts of County people. Way more than the people who sell garbage bag tags and burn permits and issue parking fines. Possibly neck and neck with The Beer Store, which is also upgrading its image and renovating its interior on the other end of town.
Don’t get me wrong. LCBO Corporate has all of the earmarks of great Canadian corporations: piles of bureaucrats who like to keep information all to themselves to justify their jobs, and who come up with bonehead ideas that only other bureaucrats interested in keeping their jobs would even listen to.
Sadly, it’s our local LCBO staff who will inevitably take the heat for decisions that were not ever remotely in their hands. It won’t be safe for them to go out on the street or into a supermarket without being accosted.
Yet, it’s the staff who rakes in the money, and builds loyalty with the customers. Not that you need to build customer loyalty when you’re selling booze. People used to buy it in clear jugs from moonshine stills here in the County (no kidding!) in the middle of the night. So promoting your product requires minimal advertising effort.
Still they serve a great purpose in the County: To distract us from the many ways the government is sucking money out of our pockets.
Anyone who has visited a duty-free shop has a pretty good idea of the tax hit the province builds into the purchase price of booze. But they spend some of that cash on advertising campaigns telling us not to drink it. Even though, if you do drink it, they make even more money when they arrest you for driving with it in your system. It’s pretty much a win/win situation for the government, dollarwise.
The concept of a ‘Liquor Control Board of Ontario’ makes Americans laugh, since they can buy a gallon jug of Carlo Rossi wine at Wal-Mart for $2.95. And really, the only Control they exert is: “If you don’t have more than 20 bucks in your pocket, get lost.” Oh, and they also card people who don’t have white beards like I do.
They could probably stand an upgrade in their image, just like the ‘Brewer’s Retail’ – a name that didn’t directly tell people what they sold. ‘The Beer Store’ leaves little room for doubt.
So perhaps it’s time to consider losing the corporate LCBO image and have some fun! ‘The Liquor Store’ is what most locals call it, but perhaps ‘Booze in a Brown Bag’ might instill a more friendly, non-corporate, atmosphere. Or maybe ‘Rums R Us’ or ‘Ye Olde Grab and Guzzle Shoppe’.
But, in Picton’s case, it isn’t the name that’s a problem. Nearby residents are concerned about ‘streetscape’ and ‘proximity to sidewalks’.
So let’s take these one by one.
Streetscape: Really? Can there be an uglier building than the one that’s there right now? Sure, it’s functional, in its way, being a concrete box filled with booze bottles, with several checkout tills. Not many people linger to absorb the ambience.
The building planners claim they have gone out of their way to reflect the other buildings at the intersection. For example, mimicking the curved facade of the McFarland building on the opposite corner. They could have emulated the vacant lot on the other corner across, by levelling the building, and selling their booze out of the trunks of cars.
The designers also note that they have convinced LCBO to give them leeway in their design, so we do not get a fresh new concrete box – this time with pictures on it!
The property owner has also stepped forward to move the red brick house, which I remember as the McGillivray house, to a new location on the lot, rather than demolish it. Have to say, this seems to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Next: I really don’t see the validity of concerns about positioning in relation to sidewalks and street. Sure, we would lose the lovely 10-ft wide patch of black asphalt that is there now, but it would certainly resolve the absurdity of the current parking issue.
Why early Town Planners would allow a string of parking areas along Lake Street, at one of the town’s major intersections – nearly impossible to get in and out of – is beyond me. Thankfully, they did not put a Tim Horton’s or Wendy’s Drive-Thru on the top floor!
Any nearby resident who does not see that this place needs more parking, and accessible parking, has never looked out their window during tourist season. I do believe that noise may be a concern, but it can’t be worse than living on the most-travelled tourist route in the County.
One realtor expressed concern that visitors might choose to park in the ReMax parking lot across the road, rather than the large, new, easily accessible parking lot in the plan. I don’t think so. Other than the liquor store, this is probably the second or third hardest parking lot to get out of!
It’s important that people speak their concerns to Council. I’ve done that very thing many times. But, in this case, I only see the proposed plan as an improvement to the existing chaos, and a necessary upgrade to a building that was not originally designed for the high volume of traffic – visitors and locals alike – that we have today.
Meanwhile, the bureaucrats at LCBO Corporate have apparently chosen the old Mac’s Milk/M&M Meats location on Main Street for its interim outlet. Also, apparently, they have never visited the Picton LCBO during tourist season.
This is going to create a traffic tie-up of enormous dimensions. This will make the Timmy’s Drive-Thru look like the Daytona Speedway. Add two 5th-Wheelers with trailers and a boat into the parking lot and, I suspect, they’ll need to level the building to drive them out.
But wait! How about an LCBO Drive-Thru? That would move things along!
“Yeah, I’ll have two litre bottles of Appleton’s Special and a 4-pack of Mudslides for the Little Lady.”
“Okay. Would you like a nice County Pinot Noir with that?”
“Yeah, sure. We’re having burgers on the Hibachi tonight, and that would complement the meal nicely.”
“Thanks. Please go to Window One, and have your Photo ID ready.”

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. Gilbert says:

    Olmanonthemtn, pretty sure here in the new world it’ll be a little less ‘mon dieu’ and a little more ‘calisse de crisse de tabarnak!’ No wonder there’s such a disconnect between the English and the French… the Country that curses together stays together, amirite?

  2. Susan says:

    Now, now you must be aware of the Tim’s hangout for caffeine and an opportunity to talk about other people. Being able to slip next door for a little nip is a bonus. Lol

  3. Marnie says:

    What kind of old folks do you hang with Susan? You make them sound like alcoholic coffee-swilling eavesdropping gossip mongers. The younger set drinks that hooch too and based on all of the texting that goes on they do their share of gossiping.

  4. Debbie says:

    Saints preserve us Susan. Us old folks can stay at home and make our own coffee and make our own wine and hooch if need be. And… If we need to gossip, we can contact all our friends on the Internet. The powers that be, do not wish to have the booze stations outside of the town because they feel that the tourist will not visit the local or Main Street businesses if the booze stores were moved to logical locations outside of town. Money talks, eh?

  5. Susan says:

    The design of the LCBO seems fine. Why keep it on that corner intersection defies logic. But like Timmy’s they crave for the dollar so much they always find the busiest area. And the old folks can’t get enough of Tim’s or liquor not to a backseat to the local gossipers!

  6. Canuck Sailor says:

    Right on, Steve. “Can there be an uglier building than the one that’s there right now?” ‘Course not, but didn’t we all decide, way back in the 90s, to plant all them box stores out beyond Cold Storage? Seeing the guvmint don’t allow booze at nofrills, let ’em share a parking lot out there (we gotta drive anyways) and let’s get real one stop shopping, n’ cure that there parking problem.

    The real thing that bugs me, I rode back into town from your end (the west end, and ‘spite my boat not being back in the water yet, I still navigate by compass) and tried to ‘magine what the entrance to the main drag’d look like with that great big tree (‘n I’m not a treehugger) out the scenery, ‘n a gert big 140 wall fifteen foot high right on the sidewalk. More a nightmare than a dream.

    Now that bitta Main, it’s all residential, with sorta the buildings aligned and kinda greenery in front. It’s like kinda friendly coming into town. We all need booze, n’ scuttlebut has it that them licker people’s goin’ to promote local brews, but if we need it that bad, put it all over the side walk. Heck, do ‘way with the right turn lane and put ’em in the middle of the road. The developer says he broken up the 140 by 15 wall to look ‘sthetic (mebbe more an imitation of the replacement Kingston pen.) but who cares?

    Tourists won’t care – they got cars. Us sailors don’t care, from the bay, we can walk to the beer shop, n’ a taxi ain’t gonna cost much more to go to cantyre than Lake (n’ that’s if we ain’t stocked up with dootyfree on the way in.)

    Anywhichways, I guess the town’ll mess up more residential bits ‘n pieces. Nothin’ much you n’ me can do Steve, with an idle chat on countylive — we ain’t gonna change this newfangled County o’ ours.

  7. Chuck says:

    Hey Steve you are ok. Perhaps dating a young lass from that home refreshes an old memory a little better. Lol

  8. Bill Woods says:

    Interesting that you should know about the new look Beer Store!

  9. County Steve says:

    Thanks Chuck … My memories of teenage years isn’t what it used to be!

  10. Chuck says:

    The McGillvray house was the next one up from the one being removed.

  11. Susan says:

    Can’t argue that the design of the new LCBO is attractive and will spruce up a pretty unattractive major intersection.

  12. Olmanonthemtn says:

    I wonder if the T.O. boozacrats will see the mushroom cloud over Picton when our County loving, spending tourists from La Belle Province try to desperately enter here using the ONE Glenora ferry! Another case of bureaucratic ineptitude repeated from last year. They may think that they might avoid this annoyance by taking highway 49 off the 401 only to find that for the month of June its under repair. Enduring all that aggravation they will look forward to getting a soothing vodka cooler but instead will wind up endlessly circling the Picton Qwiki Mart LCBO in their campers, RV’s and trailers. Perhaps they might bravely taking a chance to double park on mainstreet and quickly run in to purchase their nerve tonic unawares they are now contributing to the morass known as the Tim’s, Sobey’s, BMO, KFC, Ultramar traffic black hole . Hopefully the friendly and capable LCBO staff will not understand French cursing MON DIEU!

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