City denies McDonald's development permit over potential traffic tangles

By Tyler Marr
May 9, 2018 - 12:00pm Updated: May 9, 2018 - 1:01pm

Residents won’t see The Golden Arches at the base of the Diefenbaker Bridge anytime soon.

City council struck down a proposal for a new McDonald’s location at the corner of 12th St. W and Second Ave. Monday night, citing a variety of concerns based heavily on fears the new restaurant would create further traffic headaches around the bridge.

The city’s planning department raised red flags with the proposed location and configuration of the drive-thru. Planners worried the proposed drive-thru would leave traffic backed up into the intersection of Second Ave. and 12th St., which would be “detrimental to one of the most heavily-trafficked intersections in the City.”

“The potential to back-up to the intersection at the base of the bridge is real, and could have major consequences for life safety and convenience of travelling motorists,” a report on the subject read.

These concerns were passed along to the developers who tweaked the site design, but their modifications were not enough to ease the trepidation of city planners.

The developers of the proposed McDonald’s argued traffic would flow into the location from the northbound lanes on Second Ave. and from 12th St., which could alleviate some congestion concerns. They also made note the changes would be able to accommodate in excess of 20 vehicles behind the order boards, almost three times the number of any other McDonald’s site plan they knew of.

“Based on this revised site plan and the fact that vehicles will arrive via the two accesses to the site, the likelihood that the queue will extend out to 12th St. W. is considered very small, if at all,” the developers wrote, presenting traffic observation numbers from larger McDonald’s in a report.

Parking for the E.A. Rawlinson Centre was another scrutinized issue, but Darrell Horst, senior development manager with McDonald’s for Western Canada spoke to council Monday night and said there would still be an adequate number of stalls to meet the surrounding area's needs.

“We believe there are solutions here that will work with everybody,” he told council. “We are team players, we are solution-oriented, and that is what we are all about.”

Mayor Greg Dionne was blunt in his reply.

“Does that mean looking for a different location?” he asked.

Horst said the company believes their proposal to be a “really good location” already.

"This is an area of town we believe is the next place that we should be,” Horst added.

Dionne was not alone in his opposition to the project. Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edward said he welcomed the new business, but the bridge is a bone of contention for thousands of people each and every year.

“If we add congestion to that, we are going to get lynched,” he said. “It is just not a good site at all, unfortunately. We are open for business. There are other good sites, but this site is not well planned out.”

Ward 3 Coun. Evert Botha, who voted in favour of the proposal alongside Ward 1 Coun. Charlene Miller, believed the new location could pull a few vehicles out of the traffic lines for a short period of time and possibly improve flow. He also sided with the developers and their call for a more comprehensive traffic study. 


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