Co-op expanding Deer Park gas bar

Long line-ups at Red Deer Co-op’s Deer Park gas bar could soon be a thing of the past.

Long line-ups at Red Deer Co-op’s Deer Park gas bar could soon be a thing of the past.

On Wednesday, the Co-op received site development approval from Red Deer’s municipal planning commission for expansion of its service station at Deer Park Centre. Proposed changes include increasing the number of pumps to eight from four.

“I think we should eliminate most of the line-ups in Deer Park by doubling the size of what we have there,” said Co-op general manager Larry Parks, who acknowledged the current set-up has created problems.

“It’s going to be nice to have a little bit more space and get people in off the street.”

Both full- and self-serve pumps will be available, said Parks, and customers will be able to pay at the pump.

Also planned is a new 2,000-square-foot convenience store.

“We’ll be able to offer a wider variety of products,” said Parks.

Demolition work is expected to begin early next spring, he said, with the station to close for up to five months.

“Absolutely everything that’s there today will be removed, including the tanks,” said Parks.

Because the tanks have been monitored closely over the years and recently underwent testing, he doesn’t anticipate any problems with soil contamination.

The car wash, which was added in 1997, will not be replaced. Parks explained that there simply isn’t room at the site.

The cost of the project is expected to be around $3.6 million.

The commission heard that the service station’s new configuration should improve traffic flows in the area.

In addition to approving the site plan, it authorized a 39-square-foot free-standing sign for the service station, which would exceed the maximum allowed under the city’s land use bylaw by 17.5 square feet. However, the height of the sign will be 2.5 metres lower than the 7.5-metre maximum for free-standing signs.

Red Deer Co-op also has a service station in Taylor Plaza, at the northwest corner of 67th Street and Taylor Drive. That facility boasts 10 pumps, an even bigger convenience store and has a car wash.

The Deer Park service station has been operating since 1989, with additions built in 1994 and 1997.