Winchester A&W development won’t be gummed up by county

An A&W restaurant is planned for the northeast corner of County Road 31 and County Road 3 in Winchester, Ont. The area is already home to a supermarket, a coffee shop and a dollar store. The county will have the A&W developer submit a traffic study but won't make its results a condition of development, county council decided Monday, March 15, 2021. (Google Maps via Newswatch Group)

WINCHESTER – The council for the United Counties of SD&G has decided it won’t directly stand in the way of a proposed A&W restaurant development in North Dundas by burdening it with unforeseen costs related to traffic flow.

The franchise restaurant is planned for the shopping complex on the northeast corner of County Roads 31 and 3 and has been about a year in planning.

Since the development would access County Road 3 (Main Street West), the county requires a proponent-paid traffic study, since there is already a grocery store, pet store, a dollar store and a coffee shop in the same location.

Coun. Tony Fraser (North Dundas) told council this morning (Monday) that this was the “final piece of the puzzle” and questioned the need to hold up development approval with a traffic study given that “this (development) is already there.”

Fraser says if the study showed that a left-turn only lane was needed on the street, it could cost the developer upwards of $500,000.

While not objecting to development, Coun. Steven Byvelds (South Dundas) countered that county council making “decisions on the fly” and that “this decision will loom largely,” as far as liability if there ever was a serious accident in the area due to increased traffic from a fast food joint.

Coun. Kirsten Gardner (South Dundas) is concerned it’s tough enough to get franchise restaurants to come to smaller towns and she didn’t want to see them turned away. “You get them on the hook, you want to move forward,” she said.

Coun. Allan Armstrong says the development amounted to infill and wouldn’t pose a huge problem in the area. “This is not going to lead to cats and dogs living together.”

In the end, council agreed to allow the traffic plan to go ahead at A&W’s expense, but the findings won’t be included as part of the site plan control agreement for the development to proceed.

The study results will be held for a holistic look at traffic patterns and development around County Road 3 and County Road 31, given that future development might occur on the southeastern section of the intersection.

How each councillor voted on the measure could not been seen as the YouTube webcast from the United Counties of SD&G is not set up to see the entire council, only focusing on one person at a time. Normally, the press would be able to observe how councillors voted in an in-person situation.