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Mission council may rescind drive thru bylaw

A ban on new drive-thrus was enacted in 2008, and council is considering eliminating that bylaw

Council may soon kill a bylaw preventing new or existing developments from adding drive-thrus.

Coun. Larry Nundal led a motion Monday that staff prepare legislation to amend zoning bylaw 5050, repealing sections which currently prohibit drive-thru restaurants.

Mayor Ted Adlem, who ran a drive-thru Wendy's restaurant for 15 years, has been a vocal opponent of the bylaw. When council voted to approve a Wren Creek development with two drive-thrus in April, Adlem said the bylaw prevents Mission from being taken seriously by prospective developers.

Adlem has said between 60 to 65 per cent of a fast food restaurant's business comes from drive-thru windows.

But former councillor Heather Stewart, who voted against applications involving drive-thru restaurants and was instrumental in getting the bylaw approved, was disappointed with the move.

"It will affect Mission's image, first of all, as a forward-looking community responding to all kinds of new ideas about how communities should develop," she said. "These fast-food drive-thrus are run by corporations. They may be franchised to local people but they're run by corporations."

Council is also ignoring the bigger picture of global warming and our carbon footprint, she added.

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency on the Natural Resources Canada website, each litre of gasoline produces about 2.3 kg of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), one of the gases suspected to be responsible for creating the greenhouse effect linked to climate change.

And the province's Idle Free BC initiative claims Canadian drivers would collectively save 630 million litres of fuel, and $945 million in fuel costs (assuming a fuel cost of $1.50/L) by reducing idling by three minutes a day. This would also save 6.3 billion kg of greenhouse gas emissions.

But Adlem said people don't drive big gas guzzlers anymore, and car emissions are far fewer.

"If you probably go 10 or 15 years down the road they're not going to be run by internal combustion engines. They're going to be run by electric engines," he said.

More than 500 people in Mission signed a petition in 2008 opposing drive-thrus, followed by a 794-signature petition last May that resulted in the bylaw prohibiting them anywhere except within a comprehensive development (CD) zone.

"I respect their right to be opposed to a drive-thru," said Adlem, though he questioned whether people really know what they're opposing, adding drive-thrus provide a net financial benefit to the community.

Mission currently has seven drive-thrus, and added four more recently by approving two new developments along Lougheed Highway at Wren Street and at Cedar Street, respectively.

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