Williams Lake city council is putting the brakes on ministry of transporation’s intersection requirements for a proposed drive-thru restaurant on Broadway Avenue off Highway 97.
The ministry confirmed Monday it would require the intersection be changed to right-in and right out only if a drive-thru restaurant is built by Vic Sharman at the former Chemo RV site at 1706 Broadway Ave. South.
“Peoples’ safety is our top priority, and the ministry has requested that the intersection south of the proposed development, at 1704 Broadway Avenue, be restricted to a right-in, right-out movement, as a condition of approval,” a spokesperson for the ministry confirmed in an e-mail Monday.
During the regular city council meeting Tuesday, Nov. 20, council received an application to approve contributing money toward improving the intersection from the Development Cost Charge Road Reserves.
Council voted in favour of allocating funds, but did not approve the traffic flow being restricted to right-in and right-out.
“I am in favour of upgrading that intersection but I wish to ensure that any upgrades with that intersection still have the southbound access and egress to Highway 97,” Coun. Ivan Bonnell said during the meeting. “The intersection that is in front of the Tourism Discovery Centre is basically what I want.”
Everyone spoke against restricting the intersection’s traffic flow except for Coun. Sheila Boehm.
“For safety reasons I think I’d have to go on the recommendation from the ministry,” Boehm said.
Sharman’s consultant from Exton and Dodge Land Surveying Inc. said in the process of providing the diagram of the intersection, the one requirement by the ministry was to reduce or eliminate the movement in or out across the westbound lanes.
The ministry said the safety improvement will accommodate the increased traffic flow entering and exiting the highway that will be generated by the development.
“With a right-in, right-out movement, there would be no ability to enter the highway at this location and travel southbound. This will improve safety for drivers along this portion of Highway 97.”
Referring to the TDC intersection, there is a three-legged intersection approximately 200 metres to the north of the proposed development, that provides full access to the highway, the ministry noted, adding that local traffic would be required to use this intersection to enter the highway to travel south on Highway 97.
Coun. Scott Nelson said there have been no accidents at the intersection, that the area is seeing a “massive amount of growth,” and the intersection does not have to be as elaborate as the one at the TDC.
“I think it can be very simple if we extend both sides of the roadway and put an access down the middle,” Nelson said. “This is why we have development cost charges so that we can afford to put money into it so the development doesn’t have to pay all these costs.”
Coun. Craig Smith said he felt it would make the intersection unsafe by making it restricted to one way only.
“If you are going south and you see the drive-thru restaurant and you want to turn in, you’ve already gone past the turn in which means you are going to hit Kozuki Road further down to try and do a U-turn to try and come back or keep going and business leaves Williams Lake,” Smith said.
Sharman said he hopes it all gets solved before the spring because it has been in the works for two years.
“It’s way overdue,” he said, adding the restaurant will have to be a drive-thru.
“These chains will not go in nowadays unless it’s a drive-thru whether it’s a Hortons, a Burger King or Wendy’s. I’ve got someone in there now, but it’s temporary.”