A proposed new-style Subway is “pretty much a go.”
The District of Fort St. James has approved in principle a preliminary development permit for a new Subway franchise store to be built, and the developer expects it should go ahead.
The development permit has the new restaurant being added on to The Source store on Highway 27, beside the Goodwin Building.
The new Subway would be the first of its kind in B.C., and would incorporate a coffee-shop style seating area with high ceilings, exposed beams, a fireplace and leather seats and front a patio area.
The proposed store also includes a drive thru and would serve Seattle’s Best Coffee.
The push to put the first store of this kind in B.C. in the Fort came from the Subway Corporation, according to Lionel Conant, who works for Columbine Investments, the company looking to develop the property for the Subway franchisee.
The nearest Subway of this kind would be in Alberta.
“They seem to have a lot of faith in the community,” said Conant.
The initial development permit application was stalled when at the March 9 council meeting, two councillors had reservations about the proposal.
Councillor Bev Playfair had questions regarding the type of sign the store would be looking to erect. Playfair expressed her concerns the sign would need to be consistent with the look of the newly done facades from the downtown revitalization project.
Councillor Kris Nielson then questioned the traffic flow around the building, and was concerned an increased number of people might be making illegal turns to get into the new restaurant from Highway 27.
Lionel Conant made a presentation to council to lay these fears to rest at the March 23 council meeting, and explained to council the company’s willingness to work with council to create an appropriately styled sign as well as manage traffic flow as necessary. He described a possible “Whistler-style” rock-work sign and assured council he was open to working with them to satisfy their concerns regarding consistency and visual appeal.
“We feel that it’s going to be great for the community,” said Conant.
The traffic flow was discussed in depth and Fire Chief Rob Bennett made some suggestions regarding one-way traffic flow and added “we have to be open to change.”
Conant stated a willingness to accommodate concerns council has and is open to trying to satisfy all stakeholders as long as it is still affordable for the franchisee, who already has a Subway in Fraser Lake.
“We’re dealing with a pretty good opportunity for the community, we feel,” said Conant.
If the project goes forward, Subway would like to be selling sandwiches out of the new restaurant in the Fort by September 1, according to Conant.
Deb Hadwen, Economic Development Officer for the Fort, said council is just waiting for the detailed plans for the sign and feels confident about the traffic flow.
Councillor Playfair and Councillor Nielson were both absent from the March 23 meeting.
Subway is “the world’s largest restaurant chain” according to their website and now has 34,344 restaurants worldwide.