Council view split on drive-through debate

North Cowichan councillors split over the idea of forbidding drive-through restaurants as a part of a potential new development

North Cowichan councillors split over the idea of forbidding drive-through restaurants as a part of a potential new development at Berkey’s Corner.

In response to a question from Coun. Al Siebring, Mike Spall, representative of developer Hall Pacific, confirmed that if a drive-through was not allowed the development would be dead on the spot.

Coun. Rob Douglas expressed concern over environmental impact, saying in the past decisions had been made that didn’t take environmental concerns sufficiently into account in his view.

“If we have to wait two weeks we have to wait two weeks,” he said.

Coun. Maeve Maguire said the development should be assessed for a number of factors, not just environmental.

“Environment versus development is not what this is…We are not closed for development, we’re open for development — if it’s right,” said Coun. Maeve Maguire. “For me this is not about idling, it’s about what’s best for that neighbourhood,” she added.

Council discussed various environmental, traffic and safety concerns followed by several proposed amendments seeking further environmental and medical consultation locally and provincially which were defeated. The motion for a covenant restriction was also defeated five to two, with Coun. Rob Douglas and Maguire in favour.

Picking apart the proposal before having public input and moving it to the next stage would throw a “monkey wrench” in the process, said Coun. Al Siebring, arguing that the most logical step was to advance the process at this point even if there were points of concern.

“I will be voting against any changes or any delay,” said Coun. Tom Walker, speaking via telephone. “The biggest drive-through we have in North Cowichan is called the Trans-Canada Highway,” he added in dismissal of environmental concerns.

A revised motion allowing drive-throughs at the site was then passed five to two with Douglas and Maguire opposed.

A public hearing will be held at Mt. Prevost Elementary School at a date to be determined to provide a chance for public input.

Hall Pacific is also planning to organize a public meeting at a date to be determined prior to the North Cowichan public hearing.

“We need to give the public a voice,” Maguire said.

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