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Gas station and restaurant in the works

Simon Whitehouse
Northern News Services
Published Friday, June 8, 2012

A proposal to rezone land for a new gas station and restaurant passed first reading by council and if approved in coming weeks, could provide a new "gateway" feature to the city.

Late last year, Marvin Robinson, the former president of Robinson Trucking Ltd., put in a proposal to create a highway facility that would include a gas bar, a car washing bay, a shower, a convenience store and a 15-to 20-seat restaurant.

The lot, at the southeast corner of Highway 3 and Old Airport Road, is the proposed site and is currently zoned as growth management. To go ahead with the project, a public hearing must be held to rezone the location as commercial service.

"We went out to request for proposal at the end of last year and there was one respondent (Robinson) and the project he was working on was in the ballpark of what was being looked for that area," said Mayor Gord Van Tighem. "We are now in the process of rezoning the lot so that we can get on with it."

According to the city memorandum, some of the funds of the sale of the land may go toward creating a node park near the facility to establish a "gateway" or welcoming feature to the city. Contacted this week, Robinson said much of the project is just talk right now and is subject to a public hearing for rezoning and approval by the minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

"It is not a truck stop that we are thinking and there is nothing to say because we haven't got anything confirmed yet," said Robinson, pointing out that he is reluctant to having anything reported on it until it has been approved.

Van Tighem said the location, if approved, will be convenient for both truckers who need a place in town to wash and park their large vehicles, but also campers who are at Fred Henne Territorial Park looking for a food store and other conveniences.

During discussions on the item, city councillors David Wind and Paul Falvo indicated they would want the developer to ensure the lot provided a welcoming feature with Bristol Monument for visitors entering the city.

"I wonder if the developers will take into account the importance of identification of entering into Yellowknife and people will still have easy access to be able to visit and relax and have a picnic or something," said Wind.

Van Tighem said designing the location according to a theme that would express the city's image seemed to be a focus. One of the earliest designs he had seen featured gas pumps having covers that were "made to look like airplane wings."

"I think this is a great idea and is long overdue," said Coun. Amanda Mallon during the municipal services committee, May 28. "I look forward to our truckers having a place to call home away from home."

It is uncertain if construction will begin this season, however Van Tighem said "it would be nice."

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