Re. “Council split over drive-through,” Chief, Nov. 8.
It was with disbelief and dismay that I read the article mentioned above. I am concerned that only five of the seven elected municipal officials supported sending this application for rezoning to third reading, some expressing reservations. The number of lame excuses offered to justify this recent discussion and vote at town hall is particularly annoying. Did this applicant not work hand in hand with the district’s planning department and was there not an open house held at the Sea to Sky Hotel this fall to have neighbours and interested parties come and express their views and support? Was the planning department not in attendance and was the developer not complying with district procedures for this rezoning request? I believe they were.
For those members of council who are not prepared to vote in favour of this development, I would suggest that you may wish to seriously consider your positions so we can all stop shaking our heads in wonder as it appears the right hand does not know what the left is doing yet again. We, as citizens and businesses in Squamish, need to believe that council and its various departments can be trusted to do what is best for all of us. If this council is going to talk the “we’re open for business in Squamish” talk, it had better start walking the walk real soon.
Need I remind our elected officials that there is no district bylaw against a drive-through restaurant or banks, nor are there any restrictions against them other than the “personal” points of view being expressed by those councillors opposed to this development that would bring another Timmy’s or a CIBC bank for our community. I live in the north end of Squamish; I bank at CIBC and I happen to very much enjoy a cup of Tim Hortons coffee most days, or a bowl of their soup or on the odd occasion a sandwich or two. I find Tim Hortons service to be convenient; it meets my needs and the quality of their food and beverages to be excellent at a reasonable price. To have to drive halfway to downtown for my regular cuppa or worse, to have to drive to North Vancouver to bank at the nearest CIBC branch is decidedly inconvenient for me, and I would argue contributes more to a carbon footprint compared to having those two businesses in my neighbourhood, with or without drive-throughs. The possibility that we would turn our backs on a new branch of the CIBC in this location because they do not need to be reminded that they represent people from all over the community, not just within a few blocks of where they live.
In light of the tragic vehicle accident that took place on Government Road last week, claiming the life of one of our residents, it is regrettable that there is some hesitation within council chambers to realize the traffic improvements this project will bring to this busy roadway. Would not the proposed three-way stop make this intersection safer? I believe this upgrade will actually improve its overall traffic flow (especially turning left from Garibaldi Way to southbound Government Road) with dedicated left-turn lanes and a right-hand lane for northbound traffic headed to Brackendale. This development will spruce up an abandoned industrial site that has languished for almost 20 years. If this proposal is turned down, then we will have to wait another 20 years before someone comes along who is willing to clean it up and turn it into something useful, worthwhile and pleasing to the eye, complementing the surrounding businesses.
I urge the mayor and council to support and approve this proposed project and its requested zoning change. Can we really afford to turn down the benefits of employment, services and infrastructure improvements this project will bring to Squamish? I think not.
Violet Ann Grainger