Hurdle brews for Tim Hortons

Plans for a new Tim Hortons store in south Red Deer stumbled on a stretch of sidewalk Wednesday.

Plans for a new Tim Hortons store in south Red Deer stumbled on a stretch of sidewalk Wednesday.

Members of the city’s municipal planning commission and representatives of the iconic coffee shop chain debated the equity and practicality of installing 150 metres of sidewalk in front of the new business.

Tim Hortons wants to develop the restaurant at No. 108, 2325 Gaetz Ave., in the former premises of Polar Jewellers in Bower Plaza.

It would have seating for 50, and no drive-through service.

City staff supported the application, but included a condition requiring that a 1.5-metre-wide concrete sidewalk be laid parallel to Gaetz Avenue on the west side of Bower Plaza.

It explained that this would eventually connect to a proposed asphalt trail further south.

Les Humphrey, a senior planner with Dillon Consulting of Calgary and who spoke on behalf of Tim Hortons, objected to the sidewalk requirement.

He pointed out that the Tim Hortons development would produce only minor changes to the building’s facade, and that previous, more substantial work at the strip mall had not triggered a requirement for sidewalk installation.

Humphrey also noted that the sidewalk could prove temporary if the adjacent service road is removed — as has occurred elsewhere along Gaetz Avenue.

And he said there is not currently a trail to the south for the sidewalk to connect with.

Kim Fowler, the city’s director of planning, said the governing policy and bylaws have changed since the previous renovations to Bower Plaza.

She added that removal of the service lane is at least 10 years away, and that an asphalt trail to the south is slated to be built this year.

The commission discussed the possibility of developing a wider asphalt trail on a cost-sharing basis with the developer, but ultimately voted to table the application so that alternatives could be considered.

The issue of parking also came up, with concerns expressed about a lack of stalls at the strip mall and the potential for traffic congestion.

Humphrey said the restaurant would have a lower intensity than other Tim Hortons with drive-throughs — with about 50 trips per hour expected — and that most of these would occur at different times than those to other restaurants in Bower Plaza.

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