News that Starbucks may soon open its doors in Sicamous has received an interesting mix of responses.
Some are pouring with joy over the possibility of the popular coffee franchise having baristas in town, slinging pumpkin-spiced-frappe-latte-no-fat-decaf-extra whip-ochinos, perhaps accompanied with an oat bar. Others are a bit frothy at the mouth, offering a variety of reasons why the development is wrong for the location and/or the community, and how we could do better.
The revelation of an impending Starbucks was revealed at last week’s District of Sicamous council meeting. It was later confirmed by district staff that a development permit application has been received for the construction of a new fuel/service station with a drive-thru along Highway 1, right across from Tim Hortons. This would be the first strike against the development proposal – for a couple of reasons. Critics of the development have argued the community doesn’t need another gas station, let alone another coffee shop, across from Tim Hortons. While this may be subjective, it is a fact that parking is already an issue with the existing coffee shop, particularly when it comes to tractor-trailer units parking along the highway’s eastbound lane so their drivers can nip over for a drink and a bite to go. Double-doubling the incentive for more truck traffic on the side of the highway is not going to improve matters any. Truth is, this needs to be addressed for the future four-laning of the highway, whether or not Starbucks comes to town.
On the pro-side, we have a mix of new businesses wanting to come to Sicamous that will create jobs, perhaps stir up some competition and provide another reason for travelers to stop in town. (OK, not downtown, unfortunately, but close.) It’s also possible having a Starbucks may be a catalyst for other businesses to consider setting up shop in Sicamous.
The pros and cons of this dilemma must be weighed carefully.