Plans to turn a Linwood bookstore into a Home Hardware outlet has residents of the neighbourhood incensed, and they weren’t shy about giving Wellesley councillors an earful Tuesday night.
The township received a zone-change application for a hardware store at the site of the Living Waters Christian Bookstore, which is moving to a new location in Elmira.
Residents living right next to the property, at the corner of Manser Road and Adelaide Street, came out to object to the idea.
The current zoning only allows for a bookstore to operate on the corner property. Despite the strong public opposition, councillors voted in favour of the zone change, potentially clearing the way for Home Hardware.
Residents objected to having the busy hardware store opening on the narrow Adelaide Street next to their homes.
“I have a lot to lose over where he wants to build this store. My [property] line is ten feet away from his line. I do not want to open my window up and look at a bloody wall of a building. I’m not prepared to do that, and I’m prepared to fight for my rights,” said one resident at the meeting.
The street has limited sidewalks, which concerned some residents anticipating more traffic from the new store. One resident said she believed the lack of sidewalks was already an “accident waiting to happen.”
“And that was before adding on something where you might have large vehicles coming in and dropping of stock of stock and so on,” said the resident. “It’s a narrow street, and it’s a narrow street with one small sidewalk right by Peter Street and then one on Manser, and that’s it. And you have a lot of children in that back subdivision, including two of my grandchildren.
“When you see the children biking up and down Adelaide street and you’re thinking about adding into that mix trucks coming in and dropping off stock, I’m wondering where they’re coming in.”
John Kuepfer, owner of the Wellesley Home Hardware store, is looking at the Linwood site, explaining that his intention for the new property would be to operate out of the current building already on the property.
“Not everything is 100 per cent finalized. As I’m sure you can appreciate, things like this take a bit of time, and there’s rezoning and things like that that have to happen. But we do have the conditional go-ahead for Home Hardware Stores Limited to open a store in Linwood again,” said Kuepfer.
“Just to be clear, we’re not building – it’s not a new building,” explained Kuepfer, speaking to the Observer. He said there were no plans for building any additional structures or extensions on the property, which was one of the concerns of the residents.
“Certainly not in the immediate future. I’ll never say never – down the road, if the business grows there may be another outdoor warehouse or something like that added, but that would be all,” he said.
The new store is planned for a “soft opening” in April, where the Home Hardware would open in the basement of the building, while the Living Waters Bookstore operated above. After a period of about six months, the hardware store would take over the entire building from Living Waters when the bookstore completes its move to Elmira.
Linwood previously had a Home Hardware store, located on Ament Line, but it closed down recently. Kuepfer does not own that store and could not comment on what would happen to the closed store’s property. Asked why the Home Hardware was being opened on Adelaide Street rather than at the site of the old store, Kuepfer could not say too much.
“Let’s just say that the Living Waters location is a more ideal location long-term. Because it’s a newer, it’s a bigger building, and it has a better location. So in order for that to happen long-term, it made sense to start in there even if it’s going to be a little bit restricted for about six months,” he said