Red Deer city council is wondering whether more people will be walking in a new east-end commercial area after they supported the fourth of four drive-thru banks on Monday.
Council approved a CIBC bank on Clearview Market Way within Clearview Ridge, a subdivision located at the corner of 67th Street and 30th Avenue. Already, three banks — Servus, RBC and TD — have been given city development approval to be built a little farther to the northwest, within the Clearview Market commercial area.
City council had earlier approved a concept plan for the Clearview Market district that showed two commercial buildings with drive-thrus. A City of Red Deer development officer then supported a third one because it was considered an appropriate location because it was close to the entrance of the commercial area.
The development officer then brought forward the CIBC proposal because it believed the location wasn’t in keeping with the purpose of the district. In fact, the officer felt the additional bank drive-thru was deviating from the overall concept plan for a pedestrian-friendly environment. Melcor Developments asked, on behalf of CIBC, for an additional drive-thru building within the Town Centre plan.
The East Hill Town Centre and Main Street/Town Square Land Use districts within the East Hill Major Area Structure Plan are focused on high housing density, a variety of shops and businesses, plus pedestrian-friendly streets.
Administration recommended a bank with no drive-thru because it wants to maintain a pedestrian feel in this Clearview Market.
Councillor Tara Veer wondered what else was anticipated for the commercial area. She was envisioning more public spaces, smaller restaurants and coffee shops.
“There will be some offices, restaurants . . . and we will have a grocery store,” said Joyce Boon, Inspections and Licensing co-manager. “These are the first four developments that have come through.”
Veer said she understands the whole intent of this commercial area was to make it more pedestrian friendly, but with three drive-thrus already approved, it’s only fair to allow the fourth bank to have a drive-thru.
Staff told council that parking requirements don’t change with drive-thru, which surprised Councillor Cindy Jefferies.
Councillor Paul Harris said he’d prefer to see no drive-thrus in the area.
But one councillor disagreed.
“I don’t see how it takes away from it being walkable,” said Councillor Lynne Mulder.
“And I don’t think it’s terribly contradictory to our plan.”