Mary Brown’s on Topsail Road tries to satisfy neighbourhood concerns
Jeffry Haggett of engineering consulting firm Genivar Inc. spoke at a public meeting Thursday night at St. John’s City Hall to discuss a proposed drive-thru for a Mary Brown’s location on Topsail Road. — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram
A proposed drive-thru for a Mary Brown’s on Topsail Road is once again under consideration, but the owner appears to be listening to local residents’ concerns about the potential for noise pollution.
Jeffry Haggett of Genivar Inc., an engineering firm hired by franchise operator Michelle Maher, discussed plans to erect an eight-foot tall acoustic fence that would in theory maintain noise levels to what residents of Ferryland Street West are used to without the presence of a drive-thru.
Haggett contacted Atlantic Acoustical Associates to create an acoustic report and a recommendation for reducing noise from the drive-thru. It proposed the creation of the fence.
The fence would be built on the other side of the existing fences for homes on Ferryland Street West and have a surface weight of six-pounds per square-foot of space.
“This is an important aspect, because they determined that weight per square-foot will help absorb the sound energy coming off of that area,” said Haggett. “If it was any thinner, you’d risk noise passing on.”
City manager of planning and development Ken O’Brien said the fence would be solid throughout and have a minimal design. He added it has not been determined what material would be used to make the fence.
Angus Barrett, one of the Ferryland Street West residents who lives directly behind the Mary Brown’s location that’s attached to an Irving Gas Bar and Convenience Store, appeared to be receptive to the acoustic fence proposal.
“The idea of the acoustic fence moved up certainly, I think, will take care of a lot of the issues we have,” he said. “But then it creates another couple of issues.”
He asked about how close it would be to the existing fences. O’Brien said there would obviously need to be some space to allow residents to be able to work on their fences without having the acoustic fence interfere with such work.
Barrett also suggested it would need to be maintained and said the city should get a guarantee from the owner on that issue.
Another local resident expressed concern about the possibility that if Mary Brown’s were to leave that location, a Tim Hortons operator might look to move in. He noted a nearby Tim Hortons on Topsail Road does not currently have a drive-thru and said it is a known fact Tim Hortons drive-thrus create the most traffic among food establishments.
O’Brien noted every application for a drive-thru must go back to the director of engineering to take into consideration stacking spaces available. If the occupant of a space is found to have inadequate stacking space for vehicles, then it will not be permitted to have a drive-thru.
Ward 3 Coun. Bruce Tilley, the organizer for Thursday’s meeting, suggested there would not be enough space there to accommodate the amount of traffic a Tim Hortons drive-thru typically attracts.
Marjorie Rogers, another Ferryland Street West resident, expressed concerns about air pollution in the area created by idling vehicles. Both she and her husband are cancer survivors, and she expects the fumes from vehicles will seep into her bedroom. She also said the presence of a drive-thru will decrease the value of her home on the real estate market.
The drive-thru, measured from the edge of the asphalt along the lane behind the location, would be 10 metres from the residential properties, falling in compliance with city guidelines requiring at least a 10-metre buffer zone.
That buffer zone was reduced last June from 15 metres to 10. Tilley was among councillors who voted against the amendment.