Olivia Harms from the Gold Coast tucks into Maccas.
Olivia Harms from the Gold Coast tucks into Maccas.

Yamba McDonald's one step closer

A McDONALD’S fast food outlet in Yamba is one step closer to reality this week as a recommendation to approve the development in Treelands Drive was presented to council in a report prepared by council’s deputy general manager Des Schroder, but its opponents are adamant they will not give up.

In the one-month exhibition period, council received 480 submissions (455 opposed and 25 supporting the development) and three petitions containing close to 4000 signatures.

But despite concerns raised by the community, the recommendation suggests a McDonald’s go ahead with a reduction in opening hours from 24 to 18 and a one-metre reduction in the height of the pole sign, down to nine metres, concessions that Yamba Chamber of Commerce spokesperson, Tania Williams describes as “laughable”.

“There are no surprises there,” Mrs Williams said.

“The DA proposal put forward by McDonald’s was a wish list, and it was always going to seem like they were appeasing the community if concessions were agreed to.

“It’s clear that there is no business viability between midnight and 6am.”

The report, made public this week on council’s website, sites the main concern of objection to the restaurant as the competition between McDonald’s and existing food premises.

However it states that council has generally never considered a perceived competition between businesses as valid grounds for objection, and that the NSW Department of Planning has announced that it will in fact be putting actions in place to increase competition and lower prices to consumers.

While many objections also touched on the issue of multi-national franchises and their place in the community, the report states again that it is not the role of local government to make value-based decisions about brands or other ethical issues associated with the type of business within a community.

“Isn’t it the role of Local Government to look after the interests of its community?” Ms Williams asked.

“Item 5.11 of the DA is about ‘being in the public interest’, and this seems to have been completely ignored.

“Whose interests are being served here?”

An inspection of the Treelands Drive site is scheduled for next Tuesday at 10.20am, with members of the environment, economic and community committee voting on Tuesday afternoon.

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