Sackville says no to drive-thru at Ultramar on Cattail Ridge

Kelly and Wendy Alder

Kelly and Wendy Alder

There will be no car drive-thru window and no Robin’s Donuts franchise next to the Ultramar gas station on Cattail Ridge.

Wendy Alder, who operates the Tantramar Gas Bar with her husband Kelly, failed to persuade a majority of Sackville Town Councillors at a public hearing tonight to allow the drive-thru near Exit 506 on the TransCanada Highway.

Councillors Bruce Phinney and Joyce O’Neil moved and seconded first reading of a bylaw amendment that would have permitted more drive-thrus in the highway commercial zone along the TransCanada. But Councillors Bill Evans, Allison Butcher, Andrew Black, Michael Tower and Megan Mitton voted against the motion effectively killing further consideration of the proposal.

Drive-thru jobs

Earlier during the public hearing, Wendy Alder told councillors that a Robin’s Donut franchise would create up to five jobs in addition to the six full-time and three part-time ones already at the Ultramar. She added that her business was seeking the doughnut franchise to avoid the possibility of having to close its doors.

She also said that another drive-thru would shorten the line-ups at the Tim Hortons and McDonald’s drive-thrus at Exit 504 and therefore, would not mean longer idling times and more greenhouse gas emissions.

But a letter to council from the conservation group EOS Eco-Energy called idling in drive-thrus a significant source of pollution adding that people have the right to live in a healthy environment including children who use the outdoor playground at the nearby day care centre on Bridge St.

Before the vote, Councillor Bill Evans said he saw no reason to overturn council’s original decision made 15 years ago not to allow more drive-thrus — a position council reaffirmed unanimously in January.

For his part, Terry Smith from Robin’s Maritime head office warned council that the company would not approve a donut franchise at the Ultramar gas station without a drive-thru because 78 per cent of all coffee business is transacted through such windows.

After the meeting, the Alders voiced their disappointment at council’s decision.

Kelly Alder said that in today’s competitive climate, gas stations need to diversify to survive. He added a gas station with a convenience store isn’t enough anymore and he expressed frustration at council’s opposition to another drive-thru when the ones at McDonald’s and Tim Hortons are going full tilt.

“Let’s see them close those drive-thrus,” he said bitterly.

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