Owners battle ban

Drive-thrus threatened

http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=948735

By JACK POIRIER

The Observer

Restaurant owners are lining up to place an order at Sarnia’s drive-thru window.

Local and national representatives from McDonalds Restaurants, Tim Hortons, and Ontario’s Restaurant, Hotel, and Motel Association have already met with Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley to discuss local interest in banning drive-thrus.

Association president and CEO Tony Elenis said business owners want the chance to comment before any decisions are made. He said drive-thru service doesn’t produce as much pollution as some have suggested.

"They believe there is a lot of misinformation being circulated," Bradley said.

The lobby group maintains drive-thrus allow the elderly and handicapped an opportunity to buy items they otherwise couldn’t. No community in Canada has banned drive-thru service, the group told Bradley.

"They want to be consulted and we’ll give them that opportunity. There won’t be any decisions until they can share their scientific studies."

Sarnia Coun. Anne Marie Gillis has proposed that Sarnia review the issue as part of re-assessing the city’s official plan. She wants to "grandfather" a ban so that no new restaurants or businesses could open a drive-thru window, reducing the number of idling vehicles and improving air quality.

Council agreed to consider the idea when the city reviews commercial aspects of its official plan later this year.

"Residents are starting to object to drive-thrus," Gillis said. "People are starting to think more green."

The backlash from business was to be expected, Gillis said.

"The fact is, 35 years ago we didn’t have drive-thrus and yet we managed. They are a convenience but, we have to ask ourselves, how much convenience are you willing to give up to save the planet?"

The idea of banning drive-thru coffee shops is being examined in Toronto, London and West Vancouver, Gillis said.

 

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