McDonald's drive-through restaurant stalled

In response to overwhelming neighbourhood opposition to a plan to add a drive-through to a McDonald's at St. Clair Ave. W. and Christie St., Toronto City Council has passed an interim control bylaw that will stop the development, at least temporarily.

The Toronto Star
February 25, 2002

McDonald's drive-through restaurant stalled
Bylaw responds to neighbourhood opposition
Christopher Hume

The city has decided to slow the spread of fast food.

In response to overwhelming neighbourhood opposition to a plan to add a drive-through to a McDonald's at St. Clair Ave. W. and Christie St., Toronto City Council has passed an interim control bylaw that will stop the development, at least temporarily.

The bylaw, which affects St. Clair between Bathurst St. and Oakwood Ave., buys time for the city to persuade the junk-food giant to kill a scheme that critics say is inappropriate in a downtown community.

The McDonald's at the heart of the controversy has been around since the 1970s. It didn't become an issue until last fall, when company officials announced plans to tear it down and rebuild it with a drive-through.

Opponents argue that the drive-through would be dangerous in a neighbourhood full of pedestrians, many of them children and seniors who live in a residence across the road.

"It's a little victory," said Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul's).

"We employed a rarely used tool of the Planning Act. McDonald's building permit is now frozen. Basically, it gives us a year to deal with the issue."

Local residents have organized several large demonstrations in front of the McDonald's to show their concern, but restaurant spokespeople have so far insisted they intend to go ahead with the drive-through.

Toronto's chief planner, Paul Bedford, agrees the interim control bylaw will stop the drive-through, but emphasizes it might only be a temporary halt.

"It's a terrible idea," Bedford said. "Maybe they make sense in the suburbs, but not in the city."

According to Bedford, when Toronto's new official plan is released in May, drive-throughs will no longer be allowed anywhere in the city.


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