Northeast Town council approves Tim Hortons site plan agreement

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LITTLE CURRENT – At the Northeast Town’s first November meeting, council approved a site plan agreement with Streetwise Holdings for a 2,745 square foot Tim Hortons franchise which will be located at 45 Manitowaning Road in Little Current.

Northeast Town CAO Dave Williamson explained to council that the municipality has site plan control which means that the town’s concerns are addressed when it comes to such matters as traffic flow, buffer zones, layout and parking. Each department receives a copy of the site plan agreement and is asked to comment, he further noted.

“If approved by council it (the site plan agreement) then gets registered on title and the plan must be adhered to,” Mr. Williamson added.

Mr. Williamson walked council through the plan, noting that the entry and exit point is from Manitowaning Road. He pointed to an area to the extreme right of the property that would be used for temporary snow storage and noted a loading zone. Drainage will tie into the Draper Street storm sewer system, he added.

Mr. Williamson pointed to the buffer zone located along Walcot Street which will separate the drive-thru laneway from the residential roadway. The buffer would contain bushes that are a minimum of four feet high, the CAO explained.

Councillor Michael Erskine raised concern that the entry/exit points “seem a little choked” as traffic enters and leaves the Tim Hortons at the same location.

Mr. Williamson said the engineers believe it is sufficient for the purposes.

Councillor Bruce Wood enquired about handicap parking, noting that the plan shows only one designated parking space. Councillor Dawn Orr agreed, saying there should be more than just one. 

“Can we suggest that to the developer?” asked Councillor Bill Koehler.

Mr. Williamson said council can require that an additional spot be added to the agreement. Council agreed that this would be necessary.

Councillor Al Boyd asked if the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) needed to approve of the site plan as  Manitowaning Road is a connecting link with Highway 6. Mr. Williamson explained that it is deemed to be a municipal road and that no, the developer did not need MTO approval.

Councillor Jim Ferguson queried why the MTO was involved with a different developer’s plan of placing a Tim Hortons near the Beer Store in Little Current. Mr. Williamson said this was because that portion of road is, in fact, owned by the province.

Councillor Ferguson further asked about Manitowaning Road traffic to which Mr. Williamson replied that staff had no concerns.

Councillor Boyd said he counted 23 parking spaces in the site plan agreement and worried this would not be enough and suggested council ask for more. Mr. Williamson said that from a parking perspective, “it more than exceeds our bylaws in terms of what is required.”

Councillor Boyd added that perhaps the bylaws were created to deal with businesses with less traffic than a Tim Hortons to which Mayor Al MacNevin replied that council cannot change bylaws because of one specific business.

“At the end of the day, they (the developers) have the option to appeal council’s decision,” Mr. Williamson explained, adding that such a move could be viewed as a means to block the development.

Councillor Laurie Cook also cited traffic concerns, pointing to summer bridge backups.

Mr. Williamson again said that staff sees no concerns with parking or traffic.

Council approved the Streetwise Holdings site plan agreement with the caveat that an additional handicap parking spot be added.

There were a number of residents in the audience Monday night, eager to hear the news of the long-rumoured Tim Hortons.

Terry and Myrna Aelick of Draper Street said they had no objections to the nearby Tim Hortons, nor did Bruce Burnett or Gary Green, who were also in attendance.

Zak Nicholls, who lives on Draper Street with his partner and four young children, said he did have concerns with the Tim Hortons that will be located directly across the street. He told The Expositor he felt frustrated with the inability to ask questions of council or to cite concerns until after the fact. He said he had been trying to find answers to the rumoured franchise for quite some time but couldn’t find answers because it was not yet public knowledge. He said he would still try, but felt it was a fait accompli.

“I have no problem at all with the business,” he stressed, “but I’m disappointed that I can’t do anything. What is this going to do to an area that’s already busy?” he asking, pointing to Little Current Public School located just a short walk away.

Mr. Nicholls said he hoped, at the very least, council would move to place sidewalks on Draper Street.

“My concerns are with congestion and kids walking,” Mr. Nicholls added.

A Draper Street sidewalk addition has been listed in the Northeast Town’s draft budget for 2020.