A&W design OKed by council 0
COLLINGWOOD - The west end commercial area is going retro.
Councillors gave the OK to an A&W on Monday night, approving a design that the town's urban design planner indicated was more or less in keeping with the design guidelines established for the area.
Two weeks ago, a proposed design was put to council; the design fits with a corporate rebranding for A&W, which will see its restaurants take on a 'retro' look, hearkening back to the days of drive-in diners that were around when the chain launched in the early 1960s.
The design also incorporated elements of the existing building, which was formerly a Williams Coffee Pub; the building has been empty for about a year-and-a-half.
When it came to the council table two weeks ago, several councillors expressed concern the proposed design didn't fit the 'Collingwood brand', with a heritage look.
On Monday, urban design planner Robert Voigt - who is working on the town's urban standards guidelines - indicated the design was in keeping with what's been required of other businesses that have located in that area.
"What's presented meets those guidelines," he said.
The building's designer, Robert Ritz, said the building's design reflects the corporation's identity, while also incorporating elements that can be found in buildings within the heritage district - notably the municipal building that houses the library.
The landowner, Pat Coulter, also emphasized that A&W was a "multi-national company with definite signature buildings," though minor adjustments could be made to meet community needs.
He also pointed out the franchise owners are small businesspeople, and ultimately "they have limits on what they can spend" to meet council's goals for design.
"Yes, we have a big multi-national, but it's the local company that will fund the building at the end of the day," he said.
As the landowner, Coulter said it's in his interest to see a business in place that can pay the rent, and he can't collect until the business is up and running; any delays affect his income as much as it affects the franchise owner.
"There are limits," he said. "And if council turns this (design) down, they will move to another site in another community."
Councillors approved the design with a couple of minor modifications.