Smithers council has approved a development permit for Tim Hortons.
The restaurant proposes to renovate the exterior of the building to include peaked roof facades over the entrances, with decorative bracing and vertical walls of stone.
The company will also add stucco above the existing windows and remove building canopies, which “creates the illusion of greater building height,” according to a report to council by Town planner Danielle Patterson.
The report noted the design conforms with the Town’s Official Community Plan (OCP), which requires properties in the Form and Character Development Permit Areas—downtown, mixed residential and Hwy 16 commercial zones—to reflect Smithers’ Alpine Theme.
“Upon review of the existing site plan and proposed design details submitted by the applicant, it is indicative the proposed development reflects the Alpine Theme, with considerations for the Highway 16 location, franchise branding, and the need to incorporate the existing components of the building with the proposed renovations,” Patterson wrote.
The two existing Tim Hortons signs will be removed and replaced with single sign, which the report stated conforms with the Town’s Sign Bylaw.
The proposal also includes new LED channel lighting to illuminate the existing pedestrian walkway and a barrier between the building and drive-thru lane.
The $350,000 price tag of the renovation would trigger the requirement for off-site works, i.e., sidewalks, curb and gutters etc. However, Patterson’s report said the property already conforms with the Subdivision Servicing and Development Standards bylaw.
Coun. Frank Wray said he was very happy with the proposed renovations, but raised the issue of the drive-thru.
“The drive-thru situation is not ideal, quite often the lineups go past the turn lane and start to pile up towards the highway,” he said. “I was just wondering if this is the kind of time where we could take the opportunity to try and address that?”
Mark Allen, director of development services said staff had looked at trying to do something, but
“We tried, actually… there’s no bylaw requirements for making changes to the drive-thru, but they recognize it’s still a problem.
“They’ve made some improvements to the way they handle the customers, they have a countdown clock and try to push them through within 30 seconds. So, that has really helped a lot in probably the last 10 years, but we don’t have the accident history through ICBC or RCMP to really drive the safety aspect [of it].
Wray suggested that perhaps a way to address it might be to relax some of the parking requirements at the rear of the property in order to reroute the drive-thru lane.
Allen responded that might be feasible, but the cost would be at least equivalent to the cost of the currently proposed project.
“We’ve had that design to the [property owner] from 2002 I think, and it’s not a cost for the franchise owner, it’s for the property owner and they just haven’t come up with the funding yet, but as I said, we keep trying.”