A recreational vehicle dealership in Saint John, New Brunswick, is closing its doors after the city’s common council denied its application to expand elsewhere in the city, according to the Saint John Telegraph-Journal.
Aberdeen The RV Place — not to be confused with Aberdeen RV Center in Mississippi — will stop operating at its Rothesay Avenue location when its remaining inventory is sold, dealership owner Greg O’Leary said.
O’Leary said he now plans to expand his Subaru and Suzuki dealership into the lot currently occupied by The RV Place.
“I figured it was time to close it down,” he said. “Our other business is doing really well and it needed more room.”
The company had applied to the city to rezone several parcels of land on Rothesay Road near the Highway 1 overpass to make way for a permanent RV dealership.
The council voted unanimously last month to quash the proposal after several residents from the area told the politicians the company’s bid would have besmirched the character of their neighbourhood.
They said an RV dealership would have increased traffic congestion and worsened flooding problems, among other concerns.
O’Leary said he was disappointed with council’s decision, but he didn’t want to look back. He said he wanted to focus on expanding his car dealership business, which has seen sales increase by 20% over last year.
“The area can definitely support an RV dealership, without question, but I couldn’t do it all out of this location,” O’Leary said of the Rothesay Avenue site. “You can’t go back. I’m just going to look forward.”
Mayor Ivan Court said he stood by his decision to deny O’Leary’s application. Although he said it was sad to see the dealership close, he said residents along Rothesay Road had legitimate concerns and that the council responded appropriately.
“There are blind spots along that road and with the heavy traffic that comes in there in the morning, it’s a disaster there now,” Court said. “You have citizens who have lived there most of their lives and we’re trying to improve sidewalks and make life a little better for them, too.
“At the end of the day, council made a decision they thought was in the best interests of the citizens.”
The RV dealership had employed as many as eight people when it was temporarily located on Rothesay Road. At the time, the city had allowed the dealership to occupy the space for a trial period, but the council of the day later voted to remove the business due to public opposition.
O’Leary said he has downsized his RV dealership staff twice since then and now employs two people. He said he wasn’t sure what will happen to the remaining employees; they may be absorbed into the vehicle business or have to find work elsewhere.