A&W announced the return of the plant-based Beyond Burger, which will take a permanent spot on the fast food chain’s menu. Twitter

A&W announced the return of the plant-based Beyond Burger, which will take a permanent spot on the fast food chain’s menu. Twitter

In Our Opinion: A business venture that’s gone beyond burgers

After eight years of working with the City of Prince Rupert, the A&W chain just can’t catch a break

While plant-based businesses are sowing their seeds in the downtown core, the fast food company championing the plant-based burger has been weeded out.

In less than a year since marijuana was legalized, two cannabis shops have been approved, and now the government-run BC Cannabis store is applying to operate in the city.

Yet, after eight years of working with the city, the A&W chain just can’t catch a break.

The struggle has gone beyond burgers. Pollyco, the company that wants to bring the franchise to Rupert, says it feels “stonewalled by the city” after numerous attempts to plant its fast-food chain in the upper lot at the Rupert Square Mall.

The city has basically said the location doesn’t jive with their regulations, and it obstructs view cones.

Instead, we’d rather look at an empty parking lot, right?

If there was an A&W there, patrons could enjoy a Teen Burger and sip on some ice cold Root Beer while watching the busy activity in the harbour, maybe even a cetacean or two.

When potential residents look up Prince Rupert online they scan to see if their hobbies and taste buds will be satisfied if they chose to live in the remote northern community. They can access a movie theatre, a world-class arts centre, a golf course, the one and only drive-thru at McDonald’s, and legal weed, eventually.

But how about A&W Prince Rupert — “Best views from any fast-food chain on the West Coast.”

Maybe the city is worried about attracting businesses that offer fast-food vegan burgers, gluten free lettuce wraps and refuse to use plastic straws.

READ MORE: A&W Canada first restaurant chain to ban straws

The city is also concerned about traffic congestion in this area. Pollyco said it spent $20,000 on a traffic impact study and that no signals were required. However, traffic is something they want to bring to the mall, which is kind of the point if you’re a business.

[Insert tumble weed blowing across parking lot image here].

In the past year, the city re-zoned its downtown area to accommodate cannabis retail, preparing for new businesses, something the city desperately needs.

But A&W just can’t meet zoning requirements, which was why the city closed its development permit application back in September.

With A&W going public with its challenges with the city, this may be the last straw.

READ MORE: A&W continuing to work on Prince Rupert location


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