On Jan. 20, Mayor Ross Forrest announced that a Tim Horton’s restaurant will soon call Lake Cowichan home.
“We’re trying to increase traffic through here but we want to give people a reason to stop. Tim Horton’s will be just one more reason for them to want to stop. I think it’s going to help the other businesses in town, I really do,” said Forrest.
Councillor Bob Day is also happy that Tim Horton’s is coming to Lake Cowichan. He believes that more selection is always a good thing.
“I think Lake Cowichan has been under-serviced for a long time and that has forced people to shop and do things out of town,” said Day.
“People deserve options,” said Forrest.
However, not everyone in Lake Cowichan is pleased with the news. A litany of comments on The Lake Cowichan Gazette’s Facebook page is vivid proof of this, where people have flocked to voice their contempt in the decision.
Many are worried that the new franchise will steal business from the community’s other dining options. Gillian Griese-Polard is one of those who are concerned at the presence of Tim Horton’s.
“I haven’t got anything against Tim Hortons but I do love the Galloping Moon and going to the deli at the grocery store with my kids for treats. I hope that this doesn’t drive them out of business,” said Griese-Polard
Forrest is aware that everyone in the Cowichan Lake-area might not embrace the change right away.
“I know there are going to be some people that say it’s going to hurt some of the other businesses and I disagree,” said Forrest. “I think a company the size of Tim Horton’s coming to Lake Cowichan shows confidence that this town is going to be able to support something like this.”
Former National Hockey League player Greg Adams has purchased a lot beside the Cow Café on North Shore Road for the new Tim Horton’s location. Adams also owns four more Tim Horton’s locations in the Duncan-area.
“I think Lake Cowichan is a wonderful community and think it’s an excellent fit for the community,” said Adams.
Adams estimated that the Tim Horton’s will bring roughly 30 new jobs to Lake Cowichan. He’s not overly concerned with those who have voiced displeasure towards the announcement.
“You’re always going to get nay-sayers when anything changes but business in the free world is very competitive and everybody does their best job. We’re going to come in and do what we do and we wish the best for everybody,” he said.
Adams likened the competitive climate of fast food to his former career on the ice.
“That’s business. If a better hockey player comes along to my hockey team and I get traded or cut, guess what? That’s life,” he added.
It’s fitting that a former professional hockey player is the owner of the incoming Tim Horton’s. Adams helps upwards of 50 Timbits hockey teams in the Cowichan Valley.
Adams plans for his restaurant to have some level of involvement in the community’s minor hockey scene. He also pledged that his restaurant will contribute a minimal amount of $10,000 to various community initiatives in its first year of operation.
Lake Cowichan’s Tim Horton’s will also feature a drive-thru. Adams said he’s aiming to begin construction in March, with an estimated completion date of July.
Chris Thompson is a Lake Cowichan business owner who thinks the news has its pros and cons.
“People will come to Lake Cowichan for the lake, the river, the people, the camping and the beautiful surroundings, not because there’s a Tim Horton’s. I think that Tim’s coming to the Lake can be both a good and not so good thing. If it creates jobs and keeps people shopping locally, that can’t be bad. If it takes too much away from other business then that’s not good,” she said.