A shopping spree in downtown Thorold could soon include a Happy Meal as McDonald’s is looking to build a new restaurant on the corner of Sullivan Ave. and Pine St. S.
Serge Carpino, chair of the Business Improvement Area Association (BIA), was on hand at Tuesday’s city council meeting to answer questions about the proposal.
“As BIA chairman this is my biggest accomplishment to bring downtown,” Carpino told council members. “It’s going to bring a lot of positive things to the community. Everybody’s going to win.”
Carpino owns the lot at 10 Sullivan Ave. on which the McDonald’s restaurant would be built. He will act as the landlord while McDonald’s will be the renter.
According to Carpino, the restaurant is looking to hire 50 to 60 employees, and will bring more visitors to the downtown core.
“The reality is that we need bodies downtown,” he said. “I think this helps advertise. It’s going to compliment all the other businesses. You’re going to have a concentrated audience there of new people that otherwise wouldn’t have come to Thorold.”
While councillors are enthusiastic about the project, they do have concerns about the increased traffic the restaurant could bring to the area. A traffic study wasn’t deemed necessary by the region or by City Hall staff.
“We tweaked the site plan to minimize your concern about traffic,” said Carpino. “We moved the driveway on Towpath [St.] The region saw that it was accommodating and that it wasn’t a study that was required in our pre-consultation meetings.”
When asked if the extra traffic could possibly block fire trucks coming out of Fire Station 1 on Towpath St., Fire Chief Terry Dixon said there should not be an issue since the fire trucks can leave through Albert St. instead.
Councillor Nella Dekker inquired about the possibility of installing traffic lights in the area, but the city’s Manager of Engineering, Sean Dunsmore, said that could cost around $500,000.
Despite their traffic concerns, councillors unanimously voted to approve the zoning changes necessary for the project.
Downtown visitors looking to order a Big Mac and fries will have to stay hungry a little while longer because the project still has to go through the site plan approval process.