Good news for those of you on 24-hour KFC watch. 

Plans to reintroduce KFC to Yellowknife alongside a Taco Bell and Starbucks got a green light from city councillors as they reviewed the proposal for the first time on Monday.

Under the terms governing the land on which the fast food outlets would be built, councillors are responsible for granting permission for the development to happen and attached any conditions as required.

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On Monday, councillors discussed issues related to traffic and access but raised no major concerns not previously identified by administration and the developer, Wayne Guy.

“These businesses wouldn’t really directly compete with the kind of businesses we see downtown. Overall this will be a positive for the community,” said Councillor Julian Morse. Lots of people are very excited at the thought of KFC reopening in the city and certainly Starbucks has got a lot of excitement as well.”

“What did Taco Bell ever do to you?” Queried Mayor Mark Heyck, noting Morse had missed it off the list.

At Monday evening’s council meeting, councillors unanimously approved the development and a $63,000 City of Yellowknife contribution to related work on the nearby intersection of Old Airport Road and Range Lake Road.

Old Town hotels

Meanwhile, councillors also approved a bylaw amendment making it slightly easier for hotels and motels to be built in Yellowknife’s Old Town.

At the moment, the relevant bylaw allows hotels and motels “on the east side of Franklin Avenue” in Old Town, which, senior administrator Sheila Bassi-Kellett said, causes “a lot of confusion.”

The amended zoning bylaw will allow hotels and motels anywhere in Old Town but only if council approves them first, meaning each will come before councillors on a case-by-case basis – much as the KFC development just has.

Morse voted against the amendment, arguing: “Old Town is a very important community to Yellowknife for the character of this town and for tourism. This is something that’s important enough that we need to consult with residents on it. We have an opportunity to do that as we are currently reviewing the general plan.”

Councillor Adrian Bell agreed, adding: “I think it’s incumbent upon us to consult the neighbours. A conditionally permitted use is very different from something that is not permitted. You can’t reassure residents that council, in four months’ time, will not be running around approving hotels all over the place.”

However, the amendment passed with only Morse and Bell opposed. “It takes the uncertainty away,” said Councillor Niels Konge, supporting the move.