Council agrees to site plan on Manitowaning Road
LITTLE CURRENT – The long-rumoured Tim Hortons on Manitoulin Island is now confirmed after Northeast Town council approved the site plan for the property at 45 Manitowaning Road in Little Current that will host a 2,745 square foot fast food outlet, with shovels set to hit the ground in the spring.
“I didn’t even know the meeting was happening, but it was a good (outcome), of course,” said developer Jim McBane, who confirmed to The Expositor that the location will indeed be a Tim Hortons under the management of franchisee Denis Lefebvre.
Mr. McBane said all of the restaurants are built from corporate-approved templates and both the project management company and engineering company are also corporately chosen. He said this restaurant was a fairly standard size for Tim Hortons, with other restaurant templates being both larger and smaller than this option.
Island sentiment has been quite divided on the issue in online forums, with one informal poll conducted by Great Lakes Country 103 finding 56 percent of respondents in favour of an Island Tims and 46 percent against.
Mr. McBane said he had heard about the online discussion second-hand through a friend who uses Facebook, which found a similar division in opinions. However, he said many of those comments have come from people without a direct stake in the outcome.
“A lot of the comments against the idea are people from out of town, people who are here for one week a year who don’t want the Island to change for that one week,” said Mr. McBane.
From the economic impact aspect of the new business, Mr. McBane said it would bring many benefits for year-round Manitoulin Island residents.
“The local people are going to gain from this; it’s 30 to 35 jobs in the heavy season. As far as other local businesses are concerned, competition is always good,” he said.
The new outlet will likely be a welcome addition for early morning shift workers who want a drive-thru caffeine fix on their way to work. Mr. McBane said Tim Hortons in regions such as this are often open from 6 am to 11 pm, though he could not confirm the operating hours as this would be finalized by the franchisee.
As to whether the new venture will ultimately succeed or fail, Mr. McBane was optimistic about its chances.
“Tims knows what they’re doing. They don’t put up deals like this without knowing if they will be successful. You’ve never seen a Tim Hortons fail; they do their due diligence,” he said.
As for the employment prospects, Mr. McBane said the jobs will be locally sourced if possible. Mr. Lefebvre confirmed that he would prefer to hire locals to work at the location.
The Expositor spoke with Mr. Lefebvre who confirmed that he was the franchisee working on this project, but he declined to comment further at this stage in the process. However, he committed to contacting The Expositor at a later date to answer further questions about the build.