Councillor Bill Evans statement to Town Council, July 4, 2016

Bill Evans: “I’m going to start off with a story, it’s a short story. Forty-five years ago I was working at a gas station in Aulac and a car with American licence plates stopped and they asked me how long would it take to see PEI. They were on their way to the ferry. And I said, well that depends on how much you want to see and they said, well I don’t want to get out of the car…

“What we’re being asked to talk about here now is not coming up with new legislation. We already have legislation. We’re being asked to undo a provision that was put in explicitly 15 years ago and which was reviewed and re-adopted by Council this January. It was adopted unanimously…Because we did that in January, what changed? Because the bylaw that we adopted precludes drive-thrus. Previous councils have had other requests in the past for drive-thrus and previous councils have consistently denied them and now we have another request. So, what’s special about this request? The arguments this time are not new. Arguably, it would be good for that one business. I’m not arguing against that and I’m certainly not speaking against this business but our mandate is the welfare and interests of the entire municipality…

“…in addition to congestion and emissions, there is the big issue of our vision for the town. This apparently simple case before us actually has far-reaching consequences, the biggest of which is it won’t just be allowing one new drive-thru, but will be allowing however many drive-thrus any business in the highway commercial zone would like to create.

“This is a time for this council to show leadership, to be wise. As I have often said, our job is not to do what’s popular or easy, it’s to do what’s right. What kind of Sackville do we want, a sustainable, vibrant, active community? I’d argue that it’s already a successful, active, vibrant community and while there are assuredly a number of things we could do to make it better, our job one is to do no harm. Don’t mess up what’s already good.

“What makes Sackville so special and successful? Well, in my opinion, it’s the sense of community, the quality of life that comes from things like our environment, our waterfowl park, our Bill Johnstone park, our university, our museums and galleries, our restaurants, coffee shops, bars, our sidewalk patios, our music festivals and our farmer’s market. These are all venues where people socialize, interact, foster and demonstrate a healthy sense of community. However, nobody when they compile their own list of the things that make Sackville special and successful, has ever mentioned in my hearing having two drive-thrus. Now I’m not arguing that they are not good for their respective businesses, but I am saying they are not good for building communities. The  request before us is literally the opposite of that. The request before us is for people like my PEI tourist who couldn’t be bothered to get out of their car.

“I don’t think that Sackville’s new tag line should be a drive-thru community in a drive-thru province. I would argue that it’s the far-reaching consequences of our decision and not the particular case that makes this so important. We already have a vision and the legislation that reflects this vision and we recently reviewed it and re-adopted it unanimously and it doesn’t include drive-thrus. The emissions from idling cars may not be the sole reason to oppose the requested modification, but a vision of idling cars in drive-thrus is the poster child of an unsustainable community.

“If you want to talk about changing the legislation, how about talking about the phasing out of the two existing grandfathered drive-thrus? Otherwise, let’s leave well enough alone. I am not in support of this motion. Thank you.”