Drive Through Approved
Coun. Ryan Donn was on an island all by himself as council Tuesday approved a gas bar and restaurant drive-thru at Sexsmith and Highway 97 Tuesday night.
The property, on lands zoned for industrial use, required a council-approved rezoning because drive-thrus are not a permitted use in those zones.
Donn was the lone councillor to vote against the rezoning, siding with a recommendation put forward by planning staff, who cited council's goal of reducing vehicle emissions as a basis for that recommendation.
"I think based on our said goal of trying to reduce car usage...is to actually make using the car not the number one easiest choice possible. And that is what a drive-thru is," said Donn.
"I know there's a business case to be made that there are already two drive-thrus on different corners, and it's a major intersection. But, at some point we are going to have to say no if we genuinely want to move the dial lower to reduce people using cars.
"What is that point?"
The rest of council was not at that point with this particular application.
"Drive-thrus have their place, and this is a good place for it," cited Coun. Charlie Hodge.
Coun. Luke Stack pointed to the location as one of the gateways to the city, saying the companies overall landscape plan would actually enhance the area.
But, on emissions, he says the focus shouldn't be on banning or reducing drive-thrus.
"I do believe in greenhouse gas emission reduction, and on a personal level and a civic level working toward that goal," he said.
"But, I do believe the real solution is to have people change their automobiles to less emissions, and not to outlaw drive-thrus in my opinion. I go through one every day literally, but I drive an electric vehicle, so I don't have any emissions."
Mayor Colin Basran, an outspoken proponent of emission reduction, reluctantly endorsed the application.
"Do I think we are going to save the planet with this particular application? No. Is is another cut? potentially," said Basran.
"But, I think where we in Kelowna have the greatest opportunity to change behaviour is in our town centres, where people can live and work and shop and recreate in a way that's feasible for them to get around by alternate means.
"Unfortunately, because of this location, it's in an area that's outside those town centres where people are already in their vehicle."