Hilsinger Challenges City’s Decision to Move Kal Tire

Water Tower Inn owner JJ Hilsinger made a unique entrance to talk about the impacts a Kal Tire beside the hotel would cause. Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

“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.

Kal Tire
Proposed plans for new Kal Tire location on Old Garden River Rd.

“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.


  1. JJ needs to grow up and get over it…Transports are allowed anywhere if they have a destination or a stop there. They just can’t use these streets as a thru route.. There is so much noise and confusion around that area all the time that a tire shop isn’t even gonna be noticed.. This is just JJ ticked because he didn’t get his own way.. I think when his daughter got on council he could get anything he wanted….Kal Tire is getting a lot of free advertising….

  2. Every time a business try’s to do something in this city someone always bitches .
    They will not be working at night get real. Not the best spot l agree it’s opening on Monday so get over it.

    • Donna Hilsinger is a municiple councillor . She has recused herself from involvement in this issue for conflict of interest reasons.

      Personally, if heavy trucks are not allowed in Kal Tire’s location, it seems to me that this is hardly an appropriate location for them. I feel bad that a hotel owner, whose hotel has housed hundreds-to-thousands of tourists over several decades, and employed probably hundreds of personnel over the same period, is being jilted in favour of a tire establishment catering to trucks that aren’t supposed to be running in that area.
      Am I missing something here?

  3. City should have thought this one out better !Kal tire belongs in the industrial park where he is !People are paying to sleep at the hotel !Just not good use your brains next time !😭😭

  4. I dont see the big problem, not like they are working at 3 am. we live in a city where the steel plant makes all kinds of noise at night. you live with it. and that should mean more bussiness for him if there is a transport staying overnight and the driver needs a hotel to stay in.

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