Development stalled, franchisee waiting

The old Iroquois gas bar still stands waiting for new development to get started. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

IROQUOIS – Iroquois has been without a gas station for nearly a year now and the promised development of a new gas station and a Tim Hortons has been stalled.

The proposed gas station, convenience store and Tim Hortons by Toronto-based developer Webhead Developments Inc. went before South Dundas council August 14th. Council approved at that time to enter into a site control plan. Since that time, there has been no work done.

“The property was sold,” Tim Hortons franchise owner Shawn Lockett told The Leader. “I had heard there were issues with getting the gas station brand, but honestly we haven’t been told much.”
Lockett, along with his wife Lisa, was awarded the franchise for Iroquois last year. They also own the Tim Hortons in Prescott.

Since being awarded the franchise, the Locketts have invested time and money into preparing for the new location, even training eight new staff members for the Iroquois location.

“We have already hired the architect, designs are ready, all these guys are waiting,” Lockett said. “We’re ready to get going, there is no delay on our part with this.”

Lockett said that Tim Hortons’ head office has been involved trying to assist.

“Even they have been stonewalled by the old developer,” he said.

With the property sold, Lockett has been told that the new developers want to break ground late winter or early spring, but he has not been able to meet with them yet.

“I have a signed contract with Webhead for the store and I have asked to meet the new developers,” Lockett said. “Usually developments like this go smoothly.”

He did not know the name of the new developer.

At the January 10th South Dundas council committee of the whole meeting, staff reported to council that due to health challenges, the property was in the process of being sold.

“We’ve done everything we can from a municipal side,” said economic development officer Rob Hunter. “As soon as we know who it is, we will work with them to get it up and running.”

This isn’t the first development by Webhead Developments Inc. to be sold. The company had a similar Esso and Tim Hortons development planned in Bayfield in western Ontario near Lake Huron.

According to Mike Rolph, chief building official and manager of development services for the Municipality of Bluewater, the Bayfield development was sold and a building permit issued to Webhead July 30th, but the property has since been sold. Rolph told The Leader that construction on that property had now begun.

The Leader attempted to contact Webhead Developments owner Steven Webster. No contact from Webster was returned.

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