Tired of waiting, Sackville’s Ultramar owners ditch plan for fast-food drive-thru

Kelly and Wendy Alder at Sackville Town Hall in July 2016

The owners of the Ultramar gas station and convenience store near Trans-Canada Highway Exit 506 have abandoned their plans for a fast-food restaurant with a drive-thru window.

Instead, Wendy and Kelly Alder are now selling natural gas as a fuel for RVs, couriers and other fleet vehicles as well as cars and trucks that have been converted to burn propane.

Just over a year ago, a majority of Sackville councillors voted to uphold the town’s 2001 bylaw banning further drive-thru windows in the highway commercial zone. At the time, the Alders were hoping to get the bylaw amended allowing them to open a Robin’s Donuts drive-thru at their Tantramar Gas Bar.

Councillors seemed more receptive to reviewing the bylaw last fall, but voted to delay any decision on another drive-thru pending further study of the infrastructure needed for business development near Exit 506. The town has yet to seek bids on the study, but says it will do that soon.

No more jobs

After this week’s town council meeting, Wendy Alder told Warktimes that the revenue generated from selling auto propane should be enough to replace income that could have come from a drive-thru restaurant, but without any more jobs.

She said a fast-food restaurant would have employed six people. The Ultramar currently employs five full-time and four part-time workers.

Alder also pointed out that a fast-food restaurant would have required a $200,000 investment while Rainville Propane Gas installed the auto pump off Bridge Street at its own expense.

Exit 506 beautification

At Monday’s meeting, town council voted to award a $20,700 contract to Beach Hill Landscaping Inc. to beautify the east and westbound off-ramps at Exit 506. The work will include selectively pruning and removing trees as well as planting rose bushes, but there is no money in this year’s budget for planting wildflowers along the off-ramps.

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6 Responses to Tired of waiting, Sackville’s Ultramar owners ditch plan for fast-food drive-thru

  1. Louis says:

    “Congratulations” to Town Council on another job-killing move!

    It’s much worse than it looks, too: people stopping at the drive-through on the way from Nova Scotia could have easily been induced to meander through downtown Sackville on the way out, and to stop in other businesses there, helping to keep those ones alive too. Conveniently placed advertising could have helped that along, easily.

    But no. This was not to be. Will people stopping for propane meander through? Less likely, would be my guess.

    Those with strictly environmental concerns should ask themselves what the effect of killing local business is. Or wait for me to ask them next time I see them shopping in Moncton or Amherst.

  2. g says:

    Hope your proud of your selves town council members.

  3. Doreen says:

    Sackville…..never wanted to grow….65 years ago people had to go to Amherst to shop and they still do…….No Vision…..

  4. Former Sackville resident says:

    A common question from friends on my Facebook feed; “my teenage child needs a job, anyone know anyone hiring?” Most common answer, “Have you tried McDonalds? Tims? Gas Stations?” Then people come to the realization once again, there are almost zero employment opportunities in Sackville for teens, especially teens competing with Mt A students. Well done town council, certainly this opportunity was fraught with horrors unknown from an untapped market on this overlooked exit.

  5. Rima Azar says:

    I have never understood Sackville’s disappointing business (or rather non-business!) decision in this matter. Like MANY of my fellow citizens, I signed the supportive petition. I can only agree with the comments by eveyone (e.g., creating jobs for our youth, where is the vision?). Such a project would have perhaps brought potential shoppers to our downtown… But I guess our society likes using sexy yet empty words/slogans like “innovation” or “shop locally”, etc. However, when it is the time to act as facilitators of talent, tourism, and economy, we block potentially successful projects… Of course, we can always hide behind (apparently noble) big justifications but do they succeed in making sense (to all)? That remains an open question. Mr. and Ms. Alder, I admire the great entrepreneurs that you are. It takes oustanding skills to survive, grow, and creatively transform oneself in Sackville, or elesewhere, despite the systemic barriers. Thank you for existing. Best of luck in your other project!

  6. Jocelyn Laurette says:

    This was why I left Sackville , no jobs and no vision . Sackville has potential to be an even greater town. However it wants to stay “small” to hold that quaint university feel. But “feel” doesn’t put food on the table .

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