Home Hardware project back on track
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | March 8 , 2018
When Jerry Walker began planning to build a new Home Hardware store in Haliburton, he thought the entire project would take about two years to complete.
Walker and his business partner, Jamie Chisholm, started the first phase of the project a year ago and hit a snag last summer when the County of Haliburton requested he construct a 720-foot-long left turn lane on County Road 21, in front of the store. They hired an engineering firm to conduct a traffic study. The firm concluded a turn lane wasn’t necessary, said Walker. Despite their findings, county staff deemed it necessary.
In a report to council, planning director Charlsey White and public works director Craig Douglas said the development would “impact the transportation corridor and storm water management of the road.” The county had its own traffic corridor study done, which indicated that businesses in the area should have left turn lanes.
Walker said they obtained cost estimates and it was in excess of $100,000. As a result, they filed an appeal with the Ontario Municipal Board last November. Last week, both parties reached an agreement that will allow the project to move forward.
“We’re happy to be able to move ahead towards a building permit application,” said Walker in an interview. “We look forward to starting [construction] very soon.”
As part of the agreement, Walker said he is contributing $52,000 to the turn lane. The county set aside $50,000 in the public works budget. According to White, the county will be the project manager. She said there has been a reduction in the total cost/securities because the applicant will be providing aggregate materials from the site to widen the road and build the turn lane.
This work, which is expected to begin in the spring, must be completed before the business opens. White is also satisfied with the outcome. “This agreement ensures the requirements of the county are met, the development proposed by the applicant moves forward and the time and cost of a lengthy hearing is avoided,” she said. “This is a positive example of a good land use planning outcome for the county, the local municipality and the applicant.”
Walker’s overall budget is increasing 10-15 per cent because of the year-long delay. For instance, there have been two prime interest rate increases since they began.
(A loan will help finance construction).
There has also been an increase in building costs, he said.
“We have to absorb it. We’ve got to move forward. That’s where we’re going,” said Walker.
Walker and his wife, Dale, purchased the local Home Hardware business from Raymond Langdon in June 2014. The current store is located on Maple Avenue. The new building will be 16,000 sq. ft. on a four-and-a-half-acre property. There will also be a garden centre. Walker anticipates walls will go up at the end of May or early June, and that it will take six to eight months to complete. The store should be open for business next spring.
In addition, Walker told The Highlander he will open an appliance store—also part of the Home Hardware brand—in a building he owns at The Beer Store plaza. The space was previously leased by The Great Haliburton Feed Company.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.