A new Tim Hortons and CIBC may become the last drive-through to squeak pass the District of Squamish's council table.
On Tuesday (Dec. 4), council begrudgingly approved third reading for a project to build the coffee stop and bank on a former bulk fuel site at the corner of Garibaldi Way and Government Road. With the exception of Coun. Susan Chapellle, council voted in favour of the development, but it wasn't easy, said Patricia Heintzman.
“I would like to see us move away from having more drive-throughs on the highway,” she said.
The municipality's current zoning allows for such a use, leaving the bank the only debatable part of the proposal. The lot is zoned for tourist commercial use, which doesn't include financial institutions.
The proposal highlights the need for district officials to clarify policies, Heintzman said. In doing so, council will be able to discourage a “drive-through culture," she said.
The project will clean up a vacant site and provide economic opportunity, Coun. Ron Sander said. To allow or not allow drive-throughs within municipal boundaries is the type of discussion officials should have during an Official Community Plan (OCP) review, he said, adding the conversation should be opened up to the public.
Before the project hit council's table, Chapelle already put in a request that council examine drive-through and fast-food policies in Squamish.
She said her interpretation of the OCP is that financial institutions should be placed downtown, adding that allowing the CIBC project moves away from governing documents.
“I think that if every financial institution had the opportunity to be on the highway, they would do so,” she said.
The district's “downtown first” policy doesn't mean downtown only, Coun. Doug Race said.
“There are other financial institutions in this area,” he said, but agreed with fellow councillors that the drive-through issue needed to be examined.
The OCP doesn't back highway sprawl, Coun. Bryan Raiser said. The drive-through is being placed near one of the busiest school zones in Squamish, he added.
Michelle Charlton, the project's proponent, said she was pleased with the outcome.
“I did appreciate council's discussion,” she said.
She said site work will start in January. The project is slated to come back to council for final approval.