This drawing shows the proposed layout for a commercial development off Hops Drive, including a drive-thru restaurant, gas bar and 10,000-square-foot retail store.

Council talks commercial development in Dysart

By Chad Ingram

A commercial development being proposed for Hops Drive in Haliburton would include a gas bar, 10,000-square-foot retail building and drive-thru restaurant, councillors for the Municipality of Dysart et al heard during a Sept. 8 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

The committee-of-the-whole structure, practised in Minden Hills as well as more recently the county level, involves an advisory committee that includes all of council reviewing documents and having discussions. Typically, such meetings are discussion-based, with actual decisions on items taking place during a regular council meeting later in the month.
As a report from planning staff indicated, currently there is some discrepancy in the amount of securities that should be given to the municipality by the developer, those securities calculated based on the value of the groundworks at the site.

“The developer had some discrepancies with the work cost estimates required for the development, as reviewed by the municipality’s engineers,” planner Kris Orsan told councillors.

The developer – Marnac Management Corp., out of North York – has pegged the securities amount at approximately $150,000, the municipality approximately $200,000.

Orsan told the councillors the developer was scheduled to make a delegation during council’s regular meeting later in the month. Meetings continue to be held via online conferencing app Zoom and broadcast to the public on YouTube amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Councillor John Smith questioned whether council should be allowing a drive-thru restaurant.

“Some communities have started to limit, place restrictions on, even prohibit the construction of drive-thru facilities,” Smith said, referring to site plan documents. “As you see from the diagram here, there are several vehicles lined up waiting at a drive-thru facility, and that has impact, obviously, on our environment.”

Mayor Andrea Roberts said that in years past, council had voted against a drive-thru restaurant closer to the village’s core, and noted that Hops Drive is more on its outskirts.

“We actually turned down an application, years ago, but it was in the village and . . . was beside residential [zoning],” Roberts said. “For many reasons, we didn’t want idling and queueing of vehicles.”

“This is sort of outside of that,” Roberts continued. “We do have compatibility with another just down the road, which also has drive-thru.”
The Haliburton Tim Hortons is located not far down County Road 21 from Hops Drive.

Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedy wondered at what point council would be able to comment on sign appearance and height, as well as the buildings’ aesthetic, to keep with a rural Ontario feel, rather than that of a uniform big-box store.

Orsan said if there was direction from the committee, that’s something that could be looked at. “Or, at the council meeting, that could be a discussion with the developer at that time, to say, you know, these are the things we would like to see.”