Yamba says 'No to McDonald's'
AS many as 635 – and counting.
That’s the number of fans of the No to McDonalds (sic) in Yamba Facebook site, fewer than two days after The Daily Examiner reported on a development application lodged by McDonald’s Australia Ltd to build a 112-seat, 24/7 outlet in Treelands Drive.
Some of the reasons for the growing and vocal opposition to the big M are excess litter, public health, the effect on local business, added noise, traffic and pedestrian risk, increased vandalism and the loss of identity for Yamba.
In other developments, a public meeting has been called for Tuesday; a Yamba Market stall has been booked to rally support for a McDonald’s-free Yamba; and distribution of petitions in local businesses has begun.
Those opposed are serious and claim that if Byron Bay, Katoomba and Port Douglas can keep Maccas out, so can Yamba.
The Yes McDonalds in Yamba Facebook site stood at 13 at the same time yesterday, with its supporters citing jobs for local youth, sponsorship for local clubs, the inevitability of progress and ‘great chocolate sundaes’ as some of the reasons to welcome Maccas to Yamba.
In an unusual move, environment group Valley Watch Inc and the Yamba business chamber have joined forces to produce a petition ‘rejecting and objecting in the strongest possible terms’ to a McDonald’s development in any location in Yamba.
“The overriding issue is that a McDonald’s doesn’t fit Yamba,” Yamba Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Tania Williams said yesterday.
“It’s a multinational company that will change the town forever and a symbolic start to sameness,” she said.
“It’s not in the public interest at all.”
The chamber is also writing to Clarence Valley Council, requesting an extension to the April 9 deadline for written submissions on the development application.
“It’s right on Easter and there are a lot of public holidays before then,” Ms Williams said.
Local resident and avid protester of a McDonald’s in Yamba, Bob Kershaw, has organised a stall at the Yamba River Markets tomorrow to see just how many people are serious about saying no to the development.
“I want to raise awareness regarding the social changes that come about with having a McDonald’s in the town,” Mr Kershaw said.
“People that eat that sort of food don’t have any respect for their health so how are they going to have respect for the space around them?
“I want to rev people up enough to write their own letter to council and for them to realise the importance of every single bit of input,” Mr Kershaw said.
If the development application does ‘tick all the boxes’, Yamba’s only case for keeping the development out would be community opposition, according to Clarence Valley councillor Sue Hughes.
“Personally I am opposed as a resident of Yamba,” Cr Hughes said yesterday.
“The loss of Yamba’s charm and character is my main worry.”
Cr Karen Toms, also from Yamba, said she had concerns for businesses and was also opposed.
“I’ve had emails from concerned residents and nobody is happy about it,” Ms Toms said.
Cr Ian Dinham said that while a McDonald’s in Yamba was ‘inevitable’ and the development application was likely to comply with Clarence Valley Council regulations, the potential to change the culture of the neighbourhood was of concern.
A public meeting will be held on Tuesday at the Yamba YHA at 5.30pm to discuss McDonald’s development application.
Not in our town, thanks
Byron Bay Council’s decision in 1988 to ban drive-through restaurants has so far kept McDonald’s out of the town.
In February 1997 McDonald’s notified the group Mountains Against McDonald’s (MAM) that the food giant would not continue with its attempt to set up a new outlet in the Blue Mountains.
In December 2008, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council formally ratified the rejection of the 24-hour McDonald’s in Minyama.
In October 2009, Port Macquarie’s local council development assessment panel rejected a McDonald’s in a residential area on the grounds of traffic and safety risks.
Port Douglas fought to keep McDonald’s out. They eventually lost but McDonald’s has never set up in the town.