McDonald’s to open near Niagara-on-the-Lake

''It's a fait accompli and it's very sad,'' said Dyck's wife, Ginny, one of many in the town who fear the presence of a McDonald's will set a precedent for more fast-food restaurants lining the main roads leading into the first capital of Upper Canada.

The Toronto Star
February 20, 2005

McDonald’s to open near Niagara-on-the-Lake
Despite 1,000-signature petition, resident lose battle to keep out eatery

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE - Residents have lost a battle to keep McDonald's from opening on the outskirts of this historic town.

The fast-food giant's plans to open a franchise on a main highway leading into the popular tourist district is expected to receive final approval from town council as early as next Monday despite a petition of protest from more than 1,000 of the town's 12,600 citizens.

''The people who signed that petition really care about the shape this town is taking and they believe as I do that they don't want to see (McDonald's) locate at this site at all,'' says Gerry Dyck, who runs an antique business along Regional Road 55 (Niagara Stone Road), where the new McDonald's could open as soon as July.

The McDonald's plans received tentative approval this week from Niagara-on-the-Lake's committee of the whole on the condition the chain address a few concerns regarding drainage, landscaping and parking.

''It's a fait accompli and it's very sad,'' said Dyck's wife, Ginny, one of many in the town who fear the presence of a McDonald's will set a precedent for more fast-food restaurants lining the main roads leading into the first capital of Upper Canada.

But as much as Mayor Gary Burroughs says he appreciates the residents' concerns, he doesn't believe there is anything the town could do to prevent McDonald's from locating on a site that is already zoned for commercial development.

''I know that politically some people would like to see this turned down,'' added veteran alderman Jamie Slingerland, ''but I can tell you that in a snap of a finger, the Ontario Municipal Board would say, 'What are you doing here?' …We have to be fair to the applicant.''

Victor Labreche, planning manager for McDonald's Restaurants of Canada, said the company worked with the town's Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee to come up with a ''made-in-Niagara-on-the-Lake'' design for the restaurant.

The firm gave up the traditional red roof, yellow walls and 'golden arches' sign towering above the landscape - and settled on a grey roof, brown walls and a sign about three metres high.


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