McDonald’s in downtown Thorold gets thumbs-down from heritage group

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Published August 22, 2023 at 10:20 am

The Thorold Heritage Committee is not a fan of the golden arches setting up shop in the scenic downtown core.

While the soon-to-be-constructed McDonald’s already has all the necessary permits to start building at the corner of Pine St. S and Sullivan Ave., the heritage committee let Thorold City Council know it does not approve of the decision.

In a letter to the council, the group said, “The proposed development involves a typical McDonald’s outlet, with a drive-through and a parking lot making up most of the site. The lot in question sits at a busy intersection, in the
middle of our historic downtown, with a public school directly across the street.”

“Apart from youth nutritional health and the safety of students who will inevitably flock across busy Sullivan Avenue to get their lunch, the drive-through will not only be an eyesore, but a considerable contributor to both traffic congestion and air pollution.”

However, at the core of their concerns was the matter of what the committee stands for – heritage.

“These are issues that will affect us all, not just heritage. But heritage itself, and with it the character and identity of our city, as well as the local businesses which make it thrive, will also be negatively affected.”

While the heritage committee feels its concerns might not be popular with the city’s general populace, the fact is a healthy handful of residents and businesses expressed similar concerns back when it was being planned earlier this year.

Looking around at other Niagara locations, such as Welland and St. Catharines, the group noted that McDonald’s in those cities were situated a sizeable distance from the downtown cores.

“None of the McDonald’s outlets in the neighbouring cities are located in such neighbourhoods. They are where they should be, along highways, in commercial subdivisions, or in malls. A fast- food supplier like McDonald’s is a pit-stop, not a destination, and while there is a need and a desire for such establishments, they do not belong in a historic downtown centre.”

They concluded that a downtown core should have a historic feel in and of itself, something McDonald’s would tarnish.

“Our city’s downtown – any city’s downtown – is its heart and its soul, not a service centre promoting the generic outposts of giant corporations.”

 

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