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Big Macs, fries and Happy Meals one step closer to Port Hardy’s future

Getting a Happy Meal, Big Mac or other greasy meal from an iconic restaurant is one step closer for the Town of Port Hardy.

Earlier this month, town councillors voted unanimously to approve a development plan for McDonald’s as proposed with changes to make the golden arches work at the site of a former Shell gas station on Granville Street.

According to a report from director of development services Ross Blackwell, the property is designated as a commercial zone and is correct for putting in a restaurant. However, the report adds the building will have to reflect the feel of Port Hardy including:

  • Design standards, which portrays a high-quality, small-town streetscape reflecting Port Hardy’s outdoor adventure and marine environment 
  • Interconnectivity between the Market Street, Thunderbird Area and the surrounding residential areas within Port Hardy 
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Blackwell says the design will be mostly warm colours and a cleaner and modern look that will fit with the area’s design including the nearby mall.

“The design components, although not ideal with regard to the downtown urban design goals, they’re not dramatically dissonant with them either,” said Blackwell.

Blackwell adds the signage for the restaurant will not be as prominent as it is at other McDonald’s franchises. The initial plans would have seen a sign around 3.6 metres tall that is generic for most restaurants.

However, plans for a sign around 1.8 metres tall and another where the sign is removed were also put forward.

“I think that is a very big deviation for McDonald’s and I acknowledge them for being receptive with regard to the design program to find some of these interventions that can allow this project to better adapt to its location,” said Blackwell.

Lighting is also being considered along with landscaping that may include some parking spaces turned into planters. Blackwell added it is important for the space to have landscaping, but not too much as the area does not have a lot of landscapers.

Concerns about pedestrian safety, including having a sidewalk across the McDonald’s, will be discussed later.

“It’s nothing that can be dealt with directly in the context of this [development plan],” said Blackwell. “But it is something that needs to be folded in if we are intending to have a walkable, safe community that is accessible by everybody.”

The developers have an “ambitious” plan to build the restaurant, with the goal of opening in the fall.

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