Williams Lake city council has approved two drive-thru restaurants on Broadway Avenue South, despite some opposition from local residents and businesses.
During the regular council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 4, a drive-thru Wendy’s Restaurant at 1704 Broadway Avenue was given the green light as well as final approval for the gas station and drive-thru restaurant at 1238 Broadway Avenue, the former Quizno’s and Shell Station site.
Pat Bell, who owns two Wendy’s in Prince George, will be building the Wendy’s adjacent to the new liquor store in the 1700 block of Broadway Avenue South owned by Broadway Landco Management Ltd.
Bell told the Tribune he will lease the land from the company.
Before city council voted unanimously in favour of the development permit application for the Wendy’s, the public was given the opportunity to provide comments.
Residents living directly above the liquor store site at Northside Park, 1700 Broadway Ave. South, expressed concerns about noise and traffic pollution, one saying she was not against Wendy’s but did not want it in that location.
“When this construction was going through for the beer and wine store at the busy points we had construction trucks parking up our driveway to our trailer park,” said Margaret Doering. “If everyone uses our driveway for an overflow we are not going to be able to see past.”
Broadway Avenue along the 1700 block is very narrow, Doering noted, adding the drive-thru will add a ‘very high hazard.’
City staff confirmed during a traffic study there were no concerns raised by the Ministry of Transportation about the application.
Richard Kohlen, a restaurant owner in the 1800 block, said while Wendy’s would be competition, he was in favour of it because his restaurant doesn’t always have room for guests staying in the two motels along Broadway Avenue South.
“It will give the tourists that come to Williams Lake another option,” he said.
Denise Deschene from the active transportation Williams Lake group said they are concerned about increased traffic creating more hazards for the many young mountain bikers which use Broadway to return from local trails.
Broadway Avenue is heavily used by cyclists and the exhaust from idling of vehicles in drive-thrus adds to poor air quality, she noted.
Three written comments were also received - two opposed, one in favour.
Bell, a former BC Liberal Party MLA, who attended the meeting said he was very excited about coming to Williams Lake, adding he has owned the Prince George Wendy’s Restaurants for more than 30 years and always planned to open one in Williams Lake.
“We are a very community-oriented company and you will see us here before we even open. We intend to be here for a very long time,” Bell said.
Coun. Scott Nelson, whose wife Twila Nelson co-owns Broadway Landco Management Ltd., excused himself from the council meeting while the discussion and vote were taking place.