Salmon Arm  

Proposal for fast food restaurant, gas bar in Sicamous heading to committee of the whole

Gas bar, fast food proposed

A development including a triple fast food restaurant with a drive thru, gas bar and electric vehicle chargers has been proposed for a controversial site on Main Street in Sicamous.

A development permit application was brought to the District of Sicamous planning and development committee meeting Wednesday. The developer is looking to construct a checkpoint gas station with attached KFC, Pizza Hut and Burger King restaurants and a drive thru at 534 Main St., just off of the Trans Canada Highway.

The proposed development permit would cover two lots, one at 530 Main St. and the other at 534 Main St.

"With 534 and 530 together, we're looking at 44 parking stalls, four of them electric vehicle charging stations, the gas canopy fountain with seating that's now showing in the east side of the parcel, garbage tank, the drive thru services, landscaping, there's a food court proposed, dining area and all the associated amenities with that,” said Sarah Kyllo, deputy corporate officer.

“I wanted to talk a bit about the two properties because they have been handled concurrently or hand in hand and so the recommendation would be to approve the development permit pending consolidation of the lots.”

Kyllo said a traffic impact study was conducted by the developer, and a third-party review of the traffic impact study provided further suggestions. Recommendations from both studies were implemented in the current proposal.

Gas station proposed in 2021

A development permit application for 530 Main St. was submitted in 2021, including plans for a gas station with an attached service and repair garage. The development permit was approved in a split vote, with three councillors standing opposed.

Colleen Anderson, the current mayor, and Coun. Ian Bushell were two of the councillors who opposed the permit.

Coun. Ian Baillie organized a petition against the development of the gas bar before he was elected as a councillor.

At the time, residents who opposed the gas bar claimed it did not conform to the official community plan (OCP) or the town revitalization plan. Residents also cited concerns with traffic impacts due to the proximity of the proposed development to the highway and the traffic circle.

The proposed location is currently home to a closed Mountain Park Motorsports store.

Form and character questions addressed

Sweetpal Chauhan from Hemkund Developments attended the meeting and noted the previous opposition the project has faced.

“There have been strong perspectives brought forward from certain individuals, and I respect their opinion because they are in the same business, the restaurant business,” Chauhan said. "There are no hard feelings, I believe in positive energy, I believe in good karma.

“And we're going to continue with this journey, we are not going to run away.”

Baillie, who owns and operates two restaurants in Sicamous, spoke up to clarify that he does not oppose the development due to his involvement in a similar business.

“I’ll adjust what you just said if you think any of my concerns about this project has anything to do with me being in a business, I'm not in the same business as you,” Baillie said. “I don't do fast food, it's not even close to the same business.”

He said he's always held questions about the site.

"I think now my questions turn to form or character," Baillie said.

“Our OCP states that a lot of these developments here on Main Street should be oriented to a streetscape on Main Street and it should be inviting, that we actually have something that's inviting that fronts our Main Street. So I just want to ask you a question, how do you think your development does that?”

The current proposed design is oriented with the drive thru on the side of the building facing Main Street in order to better accommodate traffic flow.

The gas pumps and parking lot are planned to be located on the opposite side of the building, facing away from Main Street.

Mark O’Conner, the engineer working on the project, said they have gone through great lengths to ensure the Main Street side conforms to the OCP.

“We’ve got a bunch of varied elements, some different metal panels, different colours, there is some signage on there, instead of one long blank face,” O’Conner said. “And on the boulevard area we've added an enormous amount of trees and I think that answers your question of ‘how will it look inviting from driving by.’”

Baillie raised several other questions about the development, including questions about the orientation of the gas pumps and parking lot setbacks.

“We angled the islands 45 degrees, and it was proven that an F-350 pickup truck with a boat in behind can pull into the wider lanes there,” O’Conner said. “We purposely made a couple wider, and there's enough flow for people to come around closer to the building and farther out where the tanks are. So the traffic flow around there, we do not feel is going to be backed up.”

He also clarified that all HVAC and mechanical units would be mounted on the roof and not along the Main Street side.

Developer says same questions raised in 2021

Sweetpal Chauhan said that all the questions asked by the committee were addressed and discussed 3 years ago when the original development permit was issued.

“When I met the council and the city people at that time on site, the same questions were raised,” Chauhan said. “And that's how the 530 development permit was signed.

“The turning radius, all these comments were discussed. The questions coming today were exactly what was discussed two and a half, three years back, and not just in a meeting, but also in person.”

The planning and development committee passed a motion recommending the development permit application for the commercial development to be presented at a committee of the whole meeting.

Kyllo said the matter wouldn't be on the agenda for the next committee of the whole meeting on March 27 as staff needed to gather some information, but it would appear on an agenda as soon as possible.

More Salmon Arm News