Drive-through has arch-enemies

Ward 21 Councillor Joe Mihevc, who also opposes the drive-through, was one of several speakers at the rally. "This is not an anti-McDonald's protest," he insisted. "The neighbourhood is focused exclusively on the drive-through." That hasn't stopped McDonald's lawyers from sending a letter to Mihevc demanding he quit campaigning against it.

The Toronto Star
January 27, 2001

Drive-through has arch-enemies
Christopher Hume

More than 200 protesters showed up at the McDonald's at St. Clair Ave W. and Christie St. yesterday, and it wasn't Big Macs they were after.

The noisy demonstration was organized by local residents to stop the fast-food chain's plans to replace the existing outlet with one that includes a drive-through.

"Drive-throughs are dangerous," explained Jeff Preyra, the father of two small children. "It will mean more traffic, more cars crossing the sidewalk. For us, it's a walking neighbourhood. Drive-throughs are a bad idea in the city."

Ward 21 Councillor Joe Mihevc, who also opposes the drive-through, was one of several speakers at the rally. "This is not an anti-McDonald's protest," he insisted. "The neighbourhood is focused exclusively on the drive-through."

That hasn't stopped McDonald's lawyers from sending a letter to Mihevc demanding he quit campaigning against it.

In a media statement handed out at yesterday's protest, the chain defended its action.

"McDonald's is a ‘people first’ company," it states. "During the redevelopment process at 710 St. Clair Ave. W., we have worked closely with organizations such as city planning, traffic and urban design departments — which we trust have the best interests of the community in mind — to ensure that our redevelopment meets or exceeds all necessary requirements."

But the drive-through has galvanized the neighbourhood, which includes many seniors as well as young children.

"There'll be too much traffic and it'll be too much pollution," said Billy Silverstein, 10. "It'll make St. Clair even more busier."

"This is about city life," argues Susan Spiegel, an architect and resident. "The last thing we need is another suburban planning project in the heart of the city. Something like this drive-through belongs in the suburbs, where there are no pedestrians. McDonald's itself has told us it expects 80 cars an hour to use the drive-through."

The chain insists that "many of our customers are excited about the new development."

That may be true of some customers, but not, it seems, those who live nearby.


Risks: Industry muscle, Condescending view of community, Drive-through backlash, Protest, rally and demonstration, Loutish neighbours, Hubris, Canada, 20020127 Drive-through has

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