Premier Doug Ford will be hearing from Highlands East about the LCBO’s decision to reduce the hours at their Wilberforce and Gooderham locations over the winter.
Highlands East resident Linda Nottage brought the matter to council at an Oct. 3 meeting after she learned that the Gooderham LCBO will be closed on Mondays while the Wilberforce LCBO will be closed on Tuesdays during the winter season as of this week.
“As we are all aware” she wrote in her request for a delegation “this move will only serve to direct customers from our communities to travel to the large areas of either Haliburton and/or Bancroft to pursue their shopping requirements and then also to continue to shop in these outside areas for groceries hardware needs and indulge at out of town restaurants.”
Nottage wrote that “the LCBO needs to be made aware of the devastating effect that a closing day poses to our community” and requested that council submit a letter on behalf of the township to the LCBO asking them to reconsider their decision.
“In my opinion [it’s] just another nail in the coffin as far as I’m concerned for forcing people out of town to do their shopping” she told council. “If the stores close people are going to head out of town and they’re going to take the rest of their business with them and it’s just the bank all over again.”
Scotiabank’s branches in Wilberforce and Maynooth closed in early 2017. The municipality contacted the local MP and MPP to find a solution to the closure at that time but without success. At that time the community argued that business would be lost in the area when people left for their banking needs elsewhere.
“As a Crown corporation all decisions regarding LCBO’s store network are made only after a thorough review and careful considerations” an LCBO spokesperson told the Echo via email. “The reduced hours in Wilberforce and Gooderham are part of the seasonal review of retail operations across the province that considers in-store sales and customer traffic. We will continue to provide a great shopping experience in both stores as well as on lcbo.com for our customers affected by the reduced hours including ensuring that the stores located approximately 15 minutes apart are not closed on the same day.”
The LCBO spokesperson noted the change in hours come into effect “following Thanksgiving weekend.”
In the delegation to council Nottage said: “it’s not like people from Wilberforce are going to Gooderham they’re going to go to Haliburton or Bancroft…”
Council agreed to a letter with Mayor Dave Burton adding it could be sent to Premier Ford MP Jamie Schmale and MPP Laurie Scott as well.