It was just to be a regular meeting in the Carleton Place Council Chambers that night with an introduction to council of five new small industry heads. But by the time the meeting started and the head of the industrial commission had settled the industrialists in the front row, the rest of the council chambers had filled and chairs had to be brought in to seat the overflow crowd.
It was soon obvious the masses weren’t there to exchange niceties. Allan Doucett, a local realtor, represented the first delegation, and if council thought that last month’s meeting had settled the issue of a location for a new liquor store, Doucett soon corrected that assumption. The issue came to light when earlier in the year council, on hearing that the LCBO was moving out of the Bridge Street location it had occupied for years, wrote to the board drawing its attention to a vacant shopping centre on the north side of town close to the Brewers Retail outlet.
The letter stated that the north side location would be ideal because of its proximity to the beer store and because it allowed for easy access to and from a main highway. Meantime, an existing shopping centre at the south of the main business core got wind of the move and business people there did not appreciate council’s interference and set about to entice the move to a location in their Mews.
The LCBO submitted its plan to locate in the Mews and council wrote another letter saying fine. Doucett claimed the second letter indicated the town’s preference to the Mew’s site and was a contradiction of the first letter. Some councillors agreed at both meetings the town should never have become embroiled in the issue in the first place. Doucett had a . private survey conducted which pointed out that a good majority of residents favored the north location.
A resident who lived close to the Mews appeared with Doucett and stressed the problems of congestion and general confusion in trying to get in and out of the parking lot. Fred Trafford, who runs both a delivery service and taxi, said he’s waited up to five minutes to get out of the lot at the Mews. He said he felt it would be a serious mistake to add to the problems at the Moore Street entrance of the Mews.
Mayor Ted LeMaistre, anxious to clear the air and get rid of the issue, “broke every rule in the book,” as he said, as far as the meeting’s protocol is concerned as he allowed ex-mayor Howard McNeely to speak and even allowed Doucett the privilege of seeing how the gathering felt about the whole issue by asking for a show of hands.
The spectators, there for their own beef and yet to be heard, quickly supported Doucett with a solid vote for the north side site. The mayor moved the whole issue to new business in the meeting and the next delegatetion moved into the limelight. It was a large representation of the retail merchants who were there to complain about the inaction of council in replacing the parking meters on west side of Bridge Street an issue that was supposed to have been settled at the August council meeting.
There were testimonies of declining business, lack of parking, dangerous driving and shoppers being unable to get from one side of the street to the other since the traffic speeded up. LeMaistre said he thought the removal of the meters was in keeping with the sentiments of the Business Improvement Association and that council understood the decision was agreeable to all the merchants.
However, most business people at the meeting said they had never been informed of the move to remove the meters. After more than an hour’s debate council agreed to call a special meeting with the merchants after the regular BIA meeting scheduled for next week if the majority of merchants support’ the meter’s return at that time. That was 1980, see clipping of 1975, they had been fighting over this for years.
Three hours after the meeting started the liquor issue was raised again and council went into closed session. Forty-five minutes later it returned to report that still another letter was going off to the LCBO stating the town is not advocating any site. The industrialists weren’t there at the end.
Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series– Volume 4- Leslie’s China Shop to the Masonic Lodge Building
Memories of Townline
Penny Trafford Location was on the Townline, occupied now by The New Oak Tree. And this is Allan Taylor and Mr McLean