The small Canadian tourist town of Tofino is using a variety of tactics to fight off advances from McDonald’s.
The small Canadian tourist town of Tofino is using a variety of tactics to fight off advances from McDonald’s.

Yamba rallies against McDonald's

WHILE Yamba residents rally against the golden arches moving into town, a small surfing village in Canada is doing its best to fend off fast food franchises moving in on its patch.

Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, made national headlines in March when its council announced an intention to legislate against the establishment of the likes of McDonald’s, which would encroach on the area’s ‘unique culture’.

Declared as North America’s top surf spot this year by American outdoor recreation magazine ‘Outside’, Tofino appears to be Yamba’s northern hemisphere equivalent, given Yamba’s ‘Best Town’ badge.

But to save themselves the fight Yamba currently has on its hands, the District of Tofino Council is taking a proactive approach, preparing draft bylaws to make it virtually impossible for fast-food chains to set up shop in their village.

On March 31, the Vancouver Sun reported that the council was considering restrictions on the size and illumination of signage; decor; take-away food packaging; and use of non-local ingredients in its move to ‘roadblock’ outlets including Starbucks and McDonald’s.

The article stated the council would also draft a description of ‘unique attributes of Tofino’s west coast culture’ for the business sector, which any new entry would have to adhere to.

Another source, a Canadian current affairs magazine called Maclean’s, stated Tofino’s chief administrative officer would also recommend the council create regulations requiring restaurants to have table service, to aid the anti-fast food bid.

The article, published on March 30, described Tofino as ‘full of independent coffee shops, greasy spoons and eco-clothing boutiques, and its residents want to keep it that way’.

The Tofino councillor who proposed the motion, Stephen Ashton, was quoted in the Vancouver Sun saying it would be ‘too late’ once one franchise moved in.

“Tofino’s official community plan specifically says no to fast food franchises, so we need to act now,” Cr Ashton said.

“If we let [franchises] come here, people are going to miss out on what is authentic and real.”

Since The Daily Examiner published a report on a McDonald’s development application with Clarence Valley Council to build a 112-seat restaurant, playground and McCafe on Treelands Drive, waves of community responses have flooded in.

More than 3100 people have joined the No to McDonald’s in Yamba Facebook group, while 800-plus have joined the opposing Say Yes to McDonald’s.

Hundreds also attended a community meeting last week, organised by the McDonald’s-opposed Yamba Chamber of Commerce.

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