Love of Tim Hortons trumps drive-through guidelines for Kelowna council

Image Credit: Contributed

ICONIC CANADIAN DOUGHNUT SHOP ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS PEOPLE LEAVING THE AIRPORT WILL SEE

CENTRAL OKANAGAN - It took Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran to point out the incongruity of councillors gushing all over a new city-wide health strategy in the morning then over-riding staff to approve a new Tim Hortons in the afternoon.

Applicant Mission Group Commercial was seeking an expanded drive-through configuration for a possible Tim Horton’s location near Highway 97, larger and more visible than one already approved by council for the Airport Village development across from Kelowna International Airport.

Staff had recommended against the change, citing its high-profile “gateway” location and a planning trend to minimize drive-through sizes. Tims was going to walk if didn’t get what it wanted, the applicant’s representative told council.

The rep argued — successfully, it turned out — that having a major tenant like Tim Hortons would help attract other development and the area in question is already lost to pedestrians and dominated by cars anyway.

One by one, councillors lined up to agree with him, starting with Coun. Luke Stack — who professed to being an everyday visitor to Tim Hortons — followed lastly by the mayor.

“I’m struggling with this one. Yes, having a major tenant is nice, but we have one chance to get this development right,” Basran said, city his own personal opposition to drive-throughs in general. “We don’t plan cities based on right now, but 100 years from now."

It still didn’t stop him from voting for it.

Kelowna councillors had spent the morning learning about the Healthy Cities Strategy, a partnership with the Interior Health Authority where the city will use its planning authority to design healthier, less car-dependent neighbourhoods.

The idea is for local governments take the lead and increase population health by designing healthier, more walkable cities and nudging people out of their cars.

Councillors spoke unanimously in favour of the Healthy Cities Strategy, extolling its virtures, before voting to have staff proceed with the next phase.

For more City of Kelowna stories, click here.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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