KAMLOOPS - It took just six days for 1,242 Westsyde residents to sign a petition calling for Tim Hortons to consider allowing a franchisee to open up shop at the corner of Westsyde Road and Overlander Drive.
This is the second effort to bring more amenities to the community of about 10,000 residents that has never had a chain restaurant. Two years ago a similar petition was sent off to Tim Hortons headquarters but it was unsuccessful.
The woman behind the most recent petition hopes this attempt will yield better results and feels Westsyde desperately needs a Tim Hortons.
"I'll be honest with you, I don't drink coffee," Sue O'Connell says.
The petitioners would like to see the Tim Hortons built at 3435 Westsyde Rd. in a strip mall which is less than a kilometre from Westsyde Secondary School and would share a parking lot with Save-On-Foods and several other businesses.
O'Connell used to work at The Hamlets, an assisted living facility in the neighbourhood, and says those residents, "would love to have a place right across the street to go."
"We have the high school kids here and this will be a job opportunity for them and I've had a number of seniors come up to me asking if they might be able to get a job there," she says.
O'Connell says she has been in contact with Tim Hortons and was told she would have to come up with 1,000 signatures in three weeks in order for them to start looking at the viability at adding a location. With that mark hit in just six days she hopes it will show them how much support there is.
However, not enough through traffic may be a problem, according to Venture Kamloops executive director Jim Anderson.
Anderson says he hasn't looked specifically at the proposal to bring a Tim Horton's to Westsyde, but from his past dealings with chain restaurant owners the traffic level around a potential restaurant site is one of the key factors that will be looked at.
"I believe that one of the criteria for just about any fast-food franchise, but Tim Horton's in particular... is through traffic," he says. "And then we have Westsyde that is essentially a one road in one road out location."
While Anderson says that is simply his theory in this particular case, the statistics prove he may be on to something.
A traffic study conducted by the city in September found that during the peak hours between 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. only 735 vehicles either drove through or turned at the intersection of Westsyde Road and Overlander Drive. In comparison, 2015 data from the intersection of Tranquille Road and Southill Street in Brocklehurst, where a Tim Horton's is located, showed that during the same hours more than 1,100 vehicles drove by.
"I don't know what considerations Tim Hortons has for neighbourhood branches," he says. "This is purely anecdotal but I don't ever recall seeing a neighbourhood branch of a Tim Horton's. They are always traffic-centric. The population number probably plays into it, but I think the traffic number plays more into it."
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