More fast food options are coming to Lachute. Council is in the process of approving minor zoning variances for the property at 425 Avenue Bethany so that a new combination Harvey’s and St. Hubert Express outlet can be built. The location is in an increasingly popular highway commercial area north of Autoroute 50. Mayor Carl Péloquin said once the zoning variances are approved and permits issued, construction on the new restaurant will likely begin in August and be completed in three to four months.
Harvey’s began in 1959 in Toronto suburb and is one of Canada’s most prominent hamburger chains, known for allowing customers to choose which condiments they want on their burger. St. Hubert, famous for its rotisserie chicken and ribs, was founded in Montréal in 1951 and has become an institution among restaurant chains in Québec, and now has locations in eastern Ontario. In 2016, Vaughan Ontario-based Cara Operations purchased St. Hubert and has embarked upon an expansion of the chain, especially with the St. Hubert Express locations. Unlike regular St. Hubert restaurants, express locations are smaller, do not have a bar, and only offer counter service like what is found at most fast food restaurants. Cara also owns Swiss Chalet, a similar chicken and rib chain popular in Ontario. It closed all its Québec locations nearly a decade ago because of the strong popularity of St. Hubert. In Ontario, many combination Harvey’s-Swiss Chalet locations exist, like the Harvey’s-St. Hubert Express pairing that will be built in Lachute.
Lachute council is also preparing for legal cannabis. Zoning changes have been approved that will limit where a Québec government-owned cannabis store could locate in the town. Mayor Carl Péloquin said council had to choose existing commercial areas of the city that it felt are acceptable for a retail cannabis store. He said a store will not be allowed to open in the west end where the flea market is or in residential areas. Council is also ensuring there is no risk of a store opening near schools and child care centres. Québec’s cannabis law prohibits the stores being located within 250 metres of both facilities. The mayor said if a cannabis store does locate in Lachute, he would prefer to see it in a high-traffic area like the commercial corridor along Avenue Bethany.
As of October 17, 2018, Canadians will be able to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis legally and purchase it from retail outlets licensed by provincial governments. In Québec, retail stores will be operated as a division of the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), the government agency that operates liquor stores. The cannabis division is called the Société Quebecoise du cannabis (SQDC) and it plans to first open locations in Drummondville, Trois Rivières, Québec City, and Lévis. Mayor Péloquin said the SQDC plans to eventually open 350 stores across Québec, and given that there are over 400 SAQ locations, including one in Lachute, he would not be surprised if the SQDC is planning to eventually open a cannabis store there too.