Starbucks is coming to Huntsville

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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.

Site plan for Starbucks, the new Canadian Tire gas bar and a convenience store.

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21 Comments

  1. Robin Brown on

    Perhaps they should also consider removing the stop light where it is located at far entrance near Metro and close it entirely and move it down to the other entrance way with 2 in and 2 out exit and entrance ways/ advance turns etc….which also leads to the need of the parking plus entrance way reconfigured if this is done…as I find no one can safely exit and enter the way the incoming and outgoing cars do now…this place could also use some kind of concrete boulevard within the parking areas. I know this is under the Mall property concerns but the road ways are already packed with summer folk and it will just get worse with this additional attraction.

    • Jonathan Wiebe on

      Hi Robin, I’m glad you raise these concerns as they were also all raised at the meeting. Our staff have assured us that they will be discussing all of the points you’ve made while looking at the original plan for the area as it relates to traffic flow and traffic lights. Well said!

  2. Len Macdonald on

    A new business opening up in Huntsville is a good thing. This will provide new jobs plus a much better cup of coffee than Timmy’s.

    • Len Macdonald on

      Small businesses are the backbone of our community. That’s the future of economic growth in our region, not big industry. We had big industry – it’s gone now. Welcome to Muskoka, Starbucks and all who work for you.

  3. Carolyn Steele on

    This is great news. Starbucks has great coffee and the fact that they have decided to open in Huntsville can only be good news for the town. Can’t wait !!!!!

  4. Just what we did not need is another coffee shop.
    The business we have now are struggling to fill staffing positions.
    The traffic in this location is nightmare now, what will this add?

  5. Brian Tapley on

    Oh well. There seems to be no plan to rationalize the silly layout of the stop lights along this portion of the road, just add another entry/exit to make things worse. This is too bad.

    As for Starbucks, hey! now you can pay $8 to $12 for a coffee with a name a whole paragraph long. A coffee that actually costs less than a dollar to make most likely but do keep on smiling!

    I just hope they do a better job of recycling their cups and trash than Horton’s does. This could be a redeeming feature.

  6. I agree any growth is good, but also agree what we need is places to shop like Gravenhurst has, Giant Tiger and Stedmans, give Walmart some competition and us some choices.

  7. I’m guessing nobody thinks about Henrietta’s.
    Hoping that they are not doomed.

    Let’s remember to shop local Mum and Dad stores… The folks that really matter.

    • Catherine Clail on

      I agree with Matt! I have no use for Starbucks and won’t ever go there. I prefer to shop local and true small businesses like the Seven Main Cafe or Henrietta’s or Erica’s. Huntsville shouldn’t become a carbon copy of every other town in Ontario!

  8. Brenda St.John on

    Are we not recognizing the unique beauty and charm that we have in Huntsville? Tourists are attracted to our town because it has the small town feel. Do people not want to sample our local cuisine and fabulous baristas…Seven Main, Soul Sista’s etc? Do we really want to look like the GTA??? I’m disappointed in this decision. Mr. Tapley, will you run for council…please???? You’ve got my vote!!!

    • Don’t forget the Bears Den in Huntsville Mall. They have excellent very well prepared, home-style cooking–everything is cooked from fresh.

  9. As a former District traffic engineer, I can only agree that you were, indeed, very fortunate. There is no way that I would have approved this development as configured. During the morning and noon hour peaks, the allotted space for the Starbucks’ drive-thru would be insufficient. The overflow, therefore, would be interfering with the gas bar traffic.
    .
    Also, having 2 exits onto King William within, perhaps, 25 m of each other, is an accident waiting to happen. Adding the Starbucks’ left turns to the mall left turns will extend the backup far beyond Scott St., and northbound traffic will take a shortcut by turning directly into the mall (as the 90-degree island is not configured to prohibit them).
    .
    At the time of the Shoppers’ Drug Mart construction, I approached the Town Engineer and suggested a right-in/right-out entrance for the store. Meadow Park Drive could be extended to meet the laneway which comes out at the King William traffic signals. The portion of Scott St. east of this extension could be closed; especially considering that left turns out of the existing Scott St. would be virtually impossible during peak hours under the new scenario.
    .
    I may have been a “nightmare to deal with”, but now you will have a real nightmare with which to deal.

    • Joan Bennett on

      How about getting the lines on our streets painted before the May long weekend from now on so tourists actually know which lane they’re supposed to be in. Also for locals who pretend not to know. Can we also have a sign travelling past the Mall towards town, stating that the right hand lane is for right turns only. Not just an arrow on the road. You know who you are. Those that like to see if they can beat the cars in the through lane. An accident waiting to happen. As far as a Starbucks is concerned, let’s get real. We don’t need it.

    • Terry McCaffery on

      You are absolutely correct, Mr. Millman. The traffic problem here will only be exacerbated by the Starbucks/Gas bar entrance/exit!

  10. Cindy Behrens on

    Very happy to see another business coming to Huntsville and have missed Starbucks since moving North. More jobs for youth or others, more reasons for tourists and others to spend time in other stores. It highlights and creates the necessity for the Town of Huntsville to address major urban design requirements to ensure traffic flow and access is safe for locals and tourists alike. I think it’ll be popular and will positively influence the sales at Henrietta’s and the Bear’s Den. People who don’t want to pay a premium for coffee drinks or wait in line will go elsewhere. There is info published that supports that this is the impact seen in past years and other communities globally and that stores and coffee houses in the immediate vicinity of Starbucks see an increase in revenue – not a decrease.

  11. GEORGE Hines on

    I thought there was enough conflict at the existing CTC Gas Bar. The new proposal will be even worse. Between vehicles trying get in the drive through lane and vehicles to the gas pumps will send clients to more convienent locations. All these new exits onto King Wiliam St are going to be a nightmare!

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