“We won’t back off while the city writes reports and quotes dictionaries, all the time ignoring the many reasons that commercial trailers ARE referred to as heavy equipment and outside tire repairs ARE noisy and should be located in an Industrial Park environment,” Water Tower Inn owner JJ Hilsinger told a crowd of people gathered around him on Tuesday morning outside the Inn.
Hilsinger, who arrived in a transport truck and had someone perform a tire change whilst he was talking on the back of it, was addressing his concerns about the City’s recent proposal to relocate Kal Tire from it’s current home in Industrial Park Crescent to a lot on Old Garden River Rd, right behind the Water Tower Inn.
“Doing the work that they normally do and that they propose to do is going to be very disruptive to the Water Tower Inn,” Hilsinger told SaultOnline, listing off the various noises that would come from Kal Tire, such as compressors, engines, etc.
“It’s very disruptive, it’s very intrusive and I’m concerned,” he stated.
Hilsinger said he made his unique entrance to give people a chance to experience what having the tire dealer there might be like, proving his point.
“It’s hard for people to understand, even the City Councillors, they say ‘well it’s going to be noisy, etc.,’ but you don’t get it until these things are running, until you’re standing beside these big trucks – they’re heavy equipment. And (Council’s) denying it.”
Hilsinger said that he’s had community members come up to him, expressing their concerns and understanding as well.
“(They say) in their opinion that they can’t understand it,” he said. “They realize people come here to sleep, they realize that this place has been here for a long, long time, and they think that this parachuting of this use, this activity right next door, a stone’s throw away, is ludicrous.”
Hilsinger’s lawyer, Hugh MacDonald, went before Council during the Sept. 9 meeting, noting that the proposed Kal Tire location is not on the city’s designated truck route and heavy trucks shouldn’t be travelling on that road. MacDonald also pointed out that the city doesn’t have a definition of heavy equipment and needs to develop one, like other municipalities across the province have.
Despite this, Council accepted the legal department’s report as information, allowing the development to proceed, with Mayor Provenzano noting that any amendment to the bylaw wouldn’t be retroactive and would have no effect on the operation.
Hilsinger said he reached out to each City Councillor, inviting them to attend Tuesday’s press conference, but not a single one showed up.
“If I had City Councillors here today, it would’ve been nice,” he said, “because they could’ve seen the reality of what they refused to accept.”
Other locations, Hilsinger mentioned, with concerns are Cara Community Living, and Sault College, both of which are in the neighbourhood of the Water Tower Inn.