A proposed drive-thru coffee shop at Tsawwassen Springs would have a very low environmental impact, according to businessman Ron Toigo.
Delta council heard from Toigo and a few others at a public hearing Tuesday before giving conditional approval to his application to permit a drive-thru restaurant, which could be a Starbucks.
Located on the new Springs Boulevard near Highway 17 and 52nd Street, the golf course-housing development now under construction had a commercial component that originally didn't include a drive-thru restaurant. A report to council noted the applicant found it difficult to attract eating and drinking establishments unless they had drive-thrus.
It's something Toigo reiterated this week.
Council was told it's believed the proposed drive-thru would have little or no impact on the development as the commercial site is located near the main entrance. Council was also told the drive-thru queue would be fully contained within the commercial site.
Toigo recently told the Optimist they're looking for a "high-end" coffee shop to locate at Tsawwassen Springs, but a number of operators, including Starbucks, indicated they don't want to open any more franchises unless they also have a drive-thru.
Not much concern has been raised as far as traffic, however, the issue of cars idling became a topic of debate for the application.
At the hearing Toigo provided council with the findings of a 2008 environmental study that concluded a drive-thru serving 150 vehicles in an hour is roughly the equivalent to the emissions from one motorcycle operating at 50 km/h for an hour.
Toigo also pointed out some of the greener elements of his development, including eliminating gas-powered lawnmowers and golf carts with electric units.
"As far as the carbon footprint goes, we basically eliminated most, if not all, of our gas-operated machinery. Our carbon footprint has been significantly reduced," he said.
Only a few people spoke on the proposal, with only resident Carole Vignale in opposition. She said Delta should create an even healthier community with an anti-idling bylaw.
Deputy planning director Marcy Sangret noted Metro Vancouver does have an anti-idling model bylaw that municipalities could use as a template if they choose to enact legislation, but there isn't an actual regional bylaw in place. Delta hasn't enacted a bylaw, she said, noting it would be difficult for such regulations to address drive-thrus where cars are slowly moving.
A report notes that, to date, only nine of the 24 Metro Vancouver municipalities have adopted anti-idling bylaws in some form. Of these communities, only three have taken formal enforcement measures.
Councillors Jeannie Kanakos and Sylvia Bishop were the only two to vote in opposition. Kanakos noted Tim Hortons, which has a vested interest in the idling issue, commissioned the environmental study presented by Toigo.