Transportation

Urban Development? Drive-Thru Hortons at Main and Wentworth

By Jason Leach
Published April 22, 2009

A story in today's Spectator outlines plans for a drive-thru only Tim Hortons at Main and Wentworth.

Seriously, is there any way we can speed up our LRT project? This use should fit fabulously if trains end up running along the north curb lane of Main, as proposed by many who are following the LRT planning project.

As a side note, I think this weekend I'm going to host an open-house at my place and I'm going to have visitors overflow my driveway three or four cars deep into the road for ten minutes at a time.

Apparently this remains acceptable practice in Hamilton. Any why not? We all pay taxes to maintain the roads. It only makes sense that we should be allowed to park in the middle of them.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 14:43:02

Jason,

I find your sprawl and anti-car rants interesting.

Can you answer a question for me? When I click on the link that you provide for the Living Hope Christian Assembly, it says that it is located on 1045 Garth Street. I know the area well - it is a big church building located on Hamilton mountain, in sprawl territory, right off the linc, and it has a huge parking lot for all those cars you love to hate.

So you keep ranting against sprawl while at the same time you are directly affiliated with it. Can you please explain yourself???

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 14:55:50

Jason, further to my last post, I pulled this from the Living Hope Christian Assembly website.

History of LHCA

Growing with God
LHCA is one of the largest churches in the Hamilton area, offering a wide array of ministries to our members and the community at large. Thirty years ago things were very different.


Walnut Street, 1974 - 1975
LHCA, before it was even called LHCA, found it's first home in a tiny building purchased in December of 1973 on Walnut St. Hugh and Audrey Layzell had moved to Hamilton from Vancouver, B.C. and the church had its first pastor. Many young people came in during the years at this little building, including Bob and Joanne Leach who were married in the little church in 1975.

Hughson Street South, 1976 - 1986
The congregation quickly outgrew the little building and moved to Hughson Street, calling an old warehouse style building right in downtown Hamilton it's home. In 1985 Bob and Joanne were set in as senior pastors. The church had 70 members at this time, and the building was sold the following year. The church officially became Living Hope Christian Assembly at this time also.

Garth & Limeridge, 1987 - 1996
In 1987, LHCA moved up onto the mountain! God provided a beautiful little Baptist church building which would hold approximately 250 people. We took possession in April 1987. These were years tremendous growth and change. In 1996 Gary and Sheila Heyes were brought on staff. The church was bursting and it was finally time to build!

Garth & Limeridge, 1996 - Present
We built ar new facility around the little church. What was the orginal church building became our Christian School which had been operating in portable buildings until that point. The new building would seat about 500 people and our first Sunday was in February of 1997. The church has continued to grow to over 750, with three weekend services. The next few years saw the addition of two more couples to our pastoral staff Jeff and Marisa Anderson, and Jason and Mary Leach.

In 2004 Living Hope purchased 908 and 918 Main St. E. The church offices were relocated to the old house at 918 Main St. The building at 908 Main St. is to be developed as the Generation Extreme youth centre. After looking for enough land or building space for a permanent location for many years, finally in July 2006, Living Hope purchased 18 acres of land on Pritchard Ave. on the East Mountain that will be the future site of Living Hope.



So, Jason, you rant about urban sprawl and people moving to the suburbs but your church has done the exact same thing by moving from downtown to Gart and Limeridge (right off the linc with a hughe parking lot) and now you are looking at Pritchard Ave in the East Mountain for a future site!!! Is that not urban sprawl??

Jason, you really have some explaining to do. Why are you associated with an organization that has contributed to sprawl while at the same time you consistantly rant against sprawl, cars, developers etc. You scorn others for doing the exact thing that you and your church has been doing for years.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 15:17:10

Capitalist - I knew you were a prick...

This is getting personal. Jason is obviously only one member of the Living Hope group...cut him some slack.

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By Crapitalist (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 15:24:59

Not to mention that jason has been advocating that Hamilton change the rules to make it EASIER FOR PEOPLE to develop downtown and fix the problems that got us where we are today (urban highways, parking requirements, transit, financing brownfield cleanup, yadda yadda yadda) that almost force people to develop in the suburbs whether they want to or not.

But Capitalist was never about being intellectually honest, he'd much rather attack peoples integrity than confront there arguments. He's like a seagull that swoops in, poops all over the site and then swoops back to whereever he came from to peck away at the seeds of change.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 15:29:42

I had just typed a well-thought out response outlining our church history and possible future plans, but decided to scrap it knowing who I'm responding to. It won't matter, and honestly, I'm not sure that I need to. This is a forum about Hamilton, not people's personal lives.

Our church is non-profit, in the 'business' of people, not money. While we'd love to snag the Cathedral of Christ the King or some other large church in the middle of the city, it's simply unaffordable on the backs of donations. (our attendance is 800 - do you suggest we close shop because its' too large to fit into the Walnut St building?? That building is a single family home now) Our parking lot holds just over 100 cars, crammed in like sardines. Our entire piece of land is just over 1 acre. Over 800 people, 3 weekly services and several other regular events take place on that site. Heck, I'd be thrilled if the city developed a density of 800-1,000 people per acre everywhere.

And as Really? just said, I am one person there. I'd love to see Hamilton develop in a sustainable, vibrant manner and if we ever get around to constructing a new building, we will certainly do it in that manner. I know there are folks in my church who love drive-thrus. More power to them. Welcome to society, capitalist. Not everyone has to be a clone of the next guy. In fact, a church member of ours posted here yesterday with a different view than mine on my 'library' blog.
Please don't accuse anyone of being divisive, and please refrain from getting personal. I could easily hide behind an anonymous name like you do, but I don't.

Cheers

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 22, 2009 at 15:55:57

I think Frank Stronach put it best during the original NAFTA debate. He said that if NAFTA went ahead, he would have to close Canadian plants and move them to Mexico to compete with other companies that would do this. However, he didn't want to do this, so he opposed the change in regulations that would make it necessary.

Capitalist, I understand that your ideas about urban development and politics run against the grain, and I certainly try to ensure that all viewpoints are welcome on RTH, but your comment above is nothing but a personal attack.

I remind you, and everyone, to keep the discussion civil and respectful. We may be communicating via web-based forms, but we would do well to remember that the recipients of our (often anonymous) dispatches are human beings. Let's stick to the issues rather than unwarranted and unhelpful personal attacks.

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By WTF (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 15:58:58

This is disgusting!!!

Besides the obvious Environmental issues at hand, this development doesn't even make sense!? There's a drive-thru-only Tims 2km east of this location near Sherman.

The City is going to be scratching their heads on how bad they F'd up 5-years from now.

I HOPE CITY OFFICIALS ARE READING B/C YOU F'D UP H-CORE ON THIS ONE!

ps: Maybe 'Capatalist' should get a job? Then he wouldn't have so much time on his hands, and could concentrate on work rather than insulting People and Hating Life in general.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 16:05:15

that's really my main point of this blog. I realize this development complies with current design guidelines, but in 5 years they're going to be standing there saying "what the heck is this??"

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 16:32:48

Jason >> While we'd love to snag the Cathedral of Christ the King or some other large church in the middle of the city, it's simply unaffordable

Economics is the study of what people actually do, not what they say they would do. Therefore, while your intellectual position may be the ideal in an ideal world, this is not the world we live in. Reality shapes people's decisions and that is a fact. I believe you are sincere in your desire for a higher density city, but you have to admit that these new facts seem to undercut your argument a little bit.

>> Not everyone has to be a clone of the next guy.

Exactly. I grew up in Oakville, a very sprawly place to live and I had a good childhood. As a kid, if I wanted to get some pop or chips the only problem was that I needed to ride my bike a fair distance to do so. Therefore, in my case, sprawl actually promoted a more physical lifestyle.

The bottom line is that people should be able to make the choice for where they want to live by themselves. However, if you are correct in saying that inner city residents subsidize the suburbs, I agree with you that this is wrong.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 17:14:17

I doubt very much Tim's is taking the long view on this. I'm sure these drive-thrus pay for themselves in a few years, then when the business model changes, it's into the landfill.

It should have been up to our elected representatives to take the longer view. Shame on them.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 17:15:55

Jason, I would like to say your actions and those of the ministry you're involved with ARE speeding up the the process of increasing Hamilton's density. By taking 18 acres of land off the market, you are making land more expensive in this city, which will have the effect of making building UP more desirable. Therefore, don't feel bad about defending your ministries actions, because in the end you will have contributed to Hamilton becoming a more urban landscape.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 17:23:33

I'll try to dig up the quote, but when Bob Wade was running for mayor he was asked at a public forum how much of the Meadowlands project was being paid for by old city of Hamilton residents. He said "70-75%".

I absolutely agree that folks can live where they choose. My wife and I have chatted about our desire to live 'in the country' someday once we don't feel the need to live downtown anymore. Granted, I can't see that day coming, as we love downtown, but the point is, we are free to live where we choose.

Some posters on this site act as though it's the first time in their lives they are reading statements such as 'urban areas have subsidized new suburban areas'. A google search on the topic will bring up about 5 years worth of reading.

In MECCA (Portland), they are still buildings suburbs. I'll let that sink in for a moment..................... But they aren't suburbs like we've seen here. They are more sustainable, higher density, walkable, green with shops and amenities nearby. And of course, they are running light rail through the heart of these new suburban communities where possible.

I would be posting article after article here on RTH about the wonderful new suburban developments in Hamilton if they looked like this: http://www.orencostation.net/

or this: http://www.cornellvillage.ca/

or this: http://www.newurbanism.org/

It's being done all over the continent and the world. Some folks may try to attack me for wanting a better future and a better pattern of development for Hamilton, but that won't stop me from doing my tiny, little part in helping to shape a better Hamilton for everyone, regardless of where they choose to live.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 17:40:23

by the way, a hearty thank-you to all who felt moved enough to defend me against the unnecessary criticisms from capitalist, but I'd really rather not have my church dragged into the discussion. We (my church) are very aware of what we are doing and I'm not aware of anyone else on the board having their persona/private life attacked. Our 18 acres of land is adjacent to a business park that never developed and it's zoned for urban development. We won't be asking for any boundary expansions and we'll be using every square inch of that land as wisely as we can. We can't afford not to. Again, I sincerely appreciate the support and the recognition by most of you that one's personal/private life shouldn't be a topic on RTH.

Cheers

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 17:44:48

highwater, I agree with you.
As Lincoln Alexander stated in the article, "it's free enterprise". Hortons isn't doing anything illegal or shady.
The city needs to be the one looking at design guidelines, especially for a corridor like this. They have delayed any two-way conversion and any bike lane projects on all streets involving a possible LRT line, so why not also take the same approach with developments like this?

If this was Stonechurch/Upper Wellington nobody would bat an eye. But it's at Main and Wentworth. Odds are very good that there will be an LRT stop at that very intersection.
It's not very good, comprehensive planning by the city.

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By FenceSitter (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 19:46:50

Oddly enough I was thinking about some of the sprawl topics mentions here just the other day. Sprawl is inevitable. People will always vote with their wallets and move there. But I agree with Jason, sprawl does not have to be so unsustainable. I am sure some of the residents of the newer subdivisions would welcome a more urban friendly and sustainable development.

I hope evryone takes time to read the Tim's article. I will read it again before making further comment.

Ever tried Grandads donuts on James N and Burlington St?? Delicious.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 22, 2009 at 21:45:11

I was just at Grandad's the other day! They make the donuts fresh all day long like Tim's used to.

Yea, you're right fencesitter. "Sprawl" isn't the problem. It's this land-wasting, resource-wasting version of it. Portlands suburbs do simple things right - build to the street. WAY smaller parking lots. Residential units on top of grocery stores etc....
In Hamilton, it's illegal in downtown Hamilton, surrounded by 150 year old homes, to build a home to the street edge matching the other ones on the street. Go check out new homes recently built on Ray St North. They are set way back like they would be in the suburbs. Once LRT comes, we should start to see better planning principles that don't allow for a sprawl model of development, like this Tims to be built on the LRT route.

Ask residents of Westdale or Locke South if they enjoy their neighbourhoods? Both were early suburbs built along the streetcar routes that served them. Both neighbourhoods enjoy the most sustainable, high real estate values in the city, and perceived 'nice' location by residents from any part of the city. Imagine our new suburbs being built in a similar manner? Would be great.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 08:44:01

Ryan I believe that you have the ability to remove comments from here? It might be a good idea to do so for Capitalist. His/her statements full under libel and are absolutely not covered by fair comment and open him/her up to a serious lawsuit should Jason choose to do so.

I really dislike those drive thru only Tim Hortons. I live by all three kinds ov Tims and refuse to visit the drive thru ones. I have found that the simple act of stopping in at the shop and having a quick chat with the people behind the counter has developed into some interesting relationships and opportunities I'd never have had before. I recall being at the Tims at the corner of Fruitland and Barton (speaking of sprawl lol) and hearing the owner comment about wanting to add a drive thru. When I got to the cash, after seeing several customers chat with her and the other people inside, I mentioned that while the store might be able to serve more people, in all likelihood those relationships would not have been able to come about.

In our society, we seem to emphasize the "quick and easy" forgetting that what might be quick and easy in the short term and great for the bottom line (think a McDonald's 1/4 pounder combo) is quite often not a good thing. It's about time we learn to slow down and smell the roses and quit bowing down to the almighty dollar.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 08:44:26

*fall not full

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 08:58:44

Main and Wentworth is too close to home to allow something like this. As a resident of downtown I find it more disgusting than anything else that suburban values are being imposed on the downtown.

Current market conditions would support a drive through in this location but that is going to change in the next 5 years. Main Street will be either 2-way, LRT, or both. Through vehicle traffic will be reduced. As re-urbanization takes hold the new residents of this neighbourhood will have more urban values and will not appreciate a drive thru.

City planners would be wise to recognize these trends, particularily as they are the targets of their own planning documents.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 09:22:27

I have to comment on Capitalists remark. I grew up in the church and had to witness first hand the exodus of inner city churches to the suburbs. It is a product of churchgoers like everyone else becoming disconnected from their neighbourhoods, living life on a larger geographic scale and becoming ambivalent to where their church is located. In any given city people will find the church that most closely matches their values but location is rarely a factor. People cross the city, even driving to other cities to get to the church that suits their fancy. This has destroyed the community aspect of church as its members are scattered across the city and rarely see eachother more than once a week.

What sets Living Hope apart from most suburban churches is the fact that most of its members actually live in the general area. In this sense they are closer to fulfilling the traditional role of the church as a neighbourhood institution than many of the old mainline churches occupying grandiose buildings in the downtown. Of course I think the location is awful, but there is much less of a suburban attitude there than most other places.

This is aside from the obvious, that for someone who works at a church, it's their job, and nobody is going to publicly criticise the place they work. Would you call me a hypocrite for working at a manufacturing plant on Appleby Line?

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By Wiccan (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 15:12:29


To quote Jason "While we'd love to snag the Cathedral of Christ the King or some other large church in the middle of the city, it's simply unaffordable on the backs of donations. "

Well Jason, for many people in many communities, purchasing a large house in the city for their family is unaffordable, that is why they move to the suburbs.

I guess it is okay for you and you associates to do it, but when others do it it is urban sprawl. For Shame Jason! For Shame!!

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By Frank (registered) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 15:38:16

@Wiccan - not sure where you live...but Jason lives right downtown. Once again, Jason isn't solely responsible for what happens that LHCA. For shame yourself...for being unable to see that Jason just said it wasn't okay to do so but had to be done. FYI housing in the core is generally cheaper than the cookie cutter homes in the burbs. Back to Gage Park for you!

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By Captain Mediocrity (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 15:39:25

It all makes sense now.

Look who's Ward (Ward 3) this is in... you guessed it, Captain Status-Quo himself,
Bernie Morelli!

Is anyone really surprised that the Planning Dept allowed such a blunder (using prime LRT lands for a Drive-Thru-Only Tim Hortons) when the Council Member for this neighbourhood (Morelli) is happy in his Status-Quo just to keep his 18-term career alive?

Wasn't this guy originally AGAINST LRT?

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 16:00:59

Wiccan, what exactly do you mean by "large house"? Is it 2 bedrooms? 3 bedrooms? 5 bedrooms? Because I'm pretty certain there are plent of 2-3 bedroom houses in downtown Hamilton that are going to be cheaper than anything comparable that you'll find on the mountain. Because of this I'm rather confused by your comment about the affordability of suburban housing. Unless you're looking for a 3 car garage, you probably won't find Ancaster any cheaper than downtown.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 16:41:16

perhaps we can all ignore these folks who want to come on here and talk about me. I mean, I'm flattered and all that I'm that important, but seriously.

Sadly, I had the same thought as Capital Mediocrity. Ward 3 has had zero leadership for decades....you'd never know it to walk King St or Barton St though......

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By TwoWay (anonymous) | Posted April 24, 2009 at 17:14:33

@jason "This use should fit fabulously if trains end up running along the north curb lane of Main, as proposed by many who are following the LRT planning project."

Speak for yourself. You're the only one I've heard from that thinks one-way LRT is a good idea.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted April 24, 2009 at 19:44:15

Nice Troll, TwoWay.

"You're the only one I've heard from that thinks one-way LRT is a good idea."

Yeah, only Jason. And Hamilton Light Rail, a citizens group promoting it. And nearly 2,000 Hamilton residents who wrote to the city to express their support for light rail (no plan EVER gets that kind of active public support). And the Public Works department, who were opposed to light rail until they studied it. And council - unanimously - including Lloyd Ferguson, who opposed it until he went to Calgary, Portland and Charlotte and saw how well it's working there. And the Spectator editorial board. And the Chamber of Commerce. And the Realtors Association. And just about every neighborhood association, community council and BIA in the city. And Metrolinx, which the province created to build light rail all over the GTAH.

Now go home, troll. No more food for you here.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 24, 2009 at 21:26:13

yea, that post was a bit weird.
I've read ALL the reports on the rapid transit website and there are two options for the system - 1-way or 2-way on King. The reports seem to favour the one-way options, as do several local citizens commenting here on RTH and other blogs. Even though I'd LOVE to see Main and King go two-way, there has to be a better way than the proposal on the rapid transit site.

Why not contra-flow LRT on the north curb of Main with 2 eastbound lanes of traffic and street parking on the south curb? King could become a normal 2-way st. 1-lane each way with parking on both sides downtown.

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By too bad (anonymous) | Posted April 27, 2009 at 13:31:11

The Don Mills Centre story has dissapeared from the front page, so I thought I'd post this here...
The new Don Mills Ctr (almost) complete:
www.urbantoronto.ca/showthread.php?t=3831&page=8

Wow... Sam Merulla, Hamilton City Council and Redcliffe Management REALLY missed the mark on the Centre Mall (hope you got your Email notification that I mentioned your name, Sam Merulla ! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED TO REPRESENT THAT AREA/DEVELOPMENT!)


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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted April 28, 2009 at 01:13:05

I always thought it was great LHCA maintained their offices downtown.

Anyhow, the Main/Wentworth Timmy's development really is a shame, but I wonder if the "drive-through-only" plan is meant to stop certain types of activity taking place in that Tim Hortons -- if cars are moving through there and there aren't tables to sit in, perhaps it's simply a way to make more profit with less hassle?

I don't live too far away, and I like my neighbourhood, but I know that particular location is known for a lot of shady stuff happening in/around it.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 28, 2009 at 10:03:57

Meredith, you might be right about some of the issues that could arise in that part of town, although Hortons also closed a sit-down store at Aberdeen and Dundurn last year. I can't help but think it has more to do with the drive-thru model being more profitable for them, but I don't really know.

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