It’s official. The Town of Huntsville will be the first municipality in Muskoka with a Starbucks drive-thru restaurant.
The site plan for the relocation of the Canadian Tire gas bar, a convenience store and a Starbucks restaurant, to be located on property off King William Street beside the mall, was tentatively approved at Huntsville’s planning committee on May 16—pending all drawings being to the satisfaction of the Town and commenting agencies, and that servicing agreements and consent applications be finalized.
All three commercial developments will have access off King William Street and through the abutting Huntsville Place Mall property.
Councillor Bob Stone expressed concern about the traffic flow in an already busy area. Town Senior Planner Elizabeth Reimer explained that one access to the gas bar and drive-thru restaurant would be an exit-only lane, another will enable patrons to exit only to the lights, while another will enable motorists to enter the development by making a right and exit the same via a right-turn as well. Patrons wanting to go left will have to go through the mall property.
Reimer said various plans were looked at by the District of Muskoka, as King William is a District road, and the Ministry of Transportation and both entities have approved the traffic plan.
“The District traffic engineers are a bit of a nightmare to deal with so if they’re happy, you should be happy Councillor Stone,” said Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison who sat in on the planning committee in the absence of Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano. “That said, King William Street is getting busier and busier and busier all the time, it’s a great news story. And what’s coming here is only going to attract more business and I think that Starbucks is great.”
Aitchison said the previous administration of Huntsville Mayor Claude Doughty had done some analysis on the interaction of the entrance to the Mall at the lights, the entrance at Scott Street as well as to the side. “I can’t remember exactly what the result of that was but think it behooves us to take another look at that along with the District to try and improve the traffic flow overall,” he said.
Councillor Jonathan Wiebe expressed concern with the storm water management plan in that area and asked whether the new lot developments would exacerbate the problem.
Aitchison said there is a creek that literally goes through the middle of the mall property, through the parking lot and across the street and across the Canadian Tire, which is now piped. He also said that as part of the Canadian Tire expansion, changes are being made to that particular storm water system. “In discussion with the Jarlette folks as well [Muskoka Landing], there is a little strip of land that that storm water does flow onto and we’re having discussions with them about improving that system overall and then it ultimately flows through a drainage easement on Town-owned lands and into the lake. There’s still some work to be done on the outflow of that, but it’s all designed to manage it all,” he told committee.
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