The City of Summerside wants to close one of several access points to the Tim Hortons/Wendy’s restaurant on Granville Street.
The entrance in question is the one closest to the Tim Hortons drive-through. Traffic queuing up there routinely spills back onto Granville Street and cars trying to turn left when exiting the property have to cross two lanes of traffic.
City staff believe closing this entrance will improve traffic safety in the area without negatively impacting the restaurants, as there are multiple other access points to the property, said Aaron MacDonald, director of technical services.
In fact, these plans are not coming from the city but rather from Plaza Reit, the company that owns Granville Street Plaza (the strip mall), including the land the Tim Hortons/Wendy’s is on.
MacDonald explained that several years ago Plaza Reit intended to close this entrance as part of a renovation to the restaurant but never followed through.
Coun. Bruce MacDougall expressed his support, saying it has been a long-standing issue and traffic safety on Granville Street is something more residents are starting to express concern about.
“We’ve wanted to have this closed off since 1995,” said MacDougall. “This has been a dangerous thing for years and I’m glad to see we’re addressing it.”
But MacDougall was less keen on the idea of the city footing the bill to close the entrance, given that the property owner already intended to do it at one point.
MacDonald pointed out that the city has done similar projects in the past at its own expense if it meant improving safety. He cited the curbing in front of the Irving gas station on Water Street as an example.
Mayor Basil Stewart didn’t voice an opinion on the project but did express concern about the city moving ahead regardless of what D.P. Murphy Inc. which owns the restaurant franchises wants.
MacDonald said his department intends to meet with the business and landowners about the project, but ultimately it’s up to the city whether to proceed. The work is already on the books for this summer.
Stewart remained concerned.
“Is this going to cost them $10 a year or $500,000 in sales, I don’t know. Those are the kinds of things you sit down and have a chat with them about,” said Stewart. “They’re business people and nobody ever accused Tim Hortons or any of these people of being stupid. They know what they’re doing business-wise and we don’t want to do something that’s going to cost them a fortune if we can still resolve the safety problem with some discussion.”
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