Council debates drive thru traffic problems

By Christine Rumleskie


A concerned Fort St. John resident sparked some drive-thru debate at a recent city council meeting.

Morris Kapacila addressed a letter to Council that read, "I have had several incidents while driving past the Tim Horton’s at the Mall location, finding the right-hand lane is blocked by traffic waiting for a cup of coffee."

He goes on to say, "In my opinion, this creates a very dangerous situation, especially when there is fresh snow on the road."

But at Monday’s council meeting, Fort St. John’s Director of Facilities and Protective Services, Jim Rogers, said drivers aren’t doing anything illegal.

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Rogers says even adding relevant signage wouldn’t make a difference, given the problems with enforcement.

It’s definitely not the first time a Canadian city has felt the ‘drive-thru’ heat from frustrated citizens, and Rogers says the City is very aware of the local issue.

But at Monday’s meeting, councilors offered little input on how to fix the problem.

Councilor Larry Evans says he was reading an anti-idling bylaw from elsewhere, that instructed Tim Horton’s to only serve hot beverages from the drive thrus.

Fort St. John has an anti-idling bylaw that affects City-owned vehicles, but there’s nothing in place for the public.

Rogers says even if bylaws were changed, the current buildings would be ‘grandfathered-in’.

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Evans says both Tim Horton’s drive thrus cause traffic back-up problems, and both locations should be dealt with.

Council didn’t come up with an immediate solution, so it simply received the letter for information.

Meanwhile, Morris Kapacila’s letter closes with “I don’t think people have the right to block traffic anywhere, unless it’s an emergency, and I don’t think coffee at Tim Horton’s qualifies."

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