Toormina community campaign against McDonald’s proposal Coffs Coast Coffs Coast News by News Of The Area - Modern Media - October 7, 2020 An image of the McDonald’s restaurant proposed to be established at Toormina Gardens Shopping Centre. A PROPOSAL to establish a McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Toormina’s central shopping precinct has met with much opposition from the local community. The McDonald’s restaurant is proposed to be located at 5 Toormina Road, in the south western corner of Toormina Gardens Shopping Centre car park, on the right of the car park entry. The McDonald’s will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and contain 58 internal seats, a dual drive through and 29 car parking spaces, and access to the McDonald’s will be through the shopping centre car park. The new McDonald’s is anticipated to provide a wide range of career and training opportunities for more than 100 locals, and will form part of the current $1.5 million refurbishment of Toormina Gardens which involves enhancing access to the centre through the reconfiguration of the main centre access, the provision of a new internal intersection, and relocation of the medical centre. Some locals have been so upset about the proposed McDonald’s that they established a petition titled ‘No 24 HR McDonalds on Toormina Rd’, which contained 1,669 signatures as of Monday. The petition states that there has been little community consultation with regard to the proposal, and issues of concern with the development include the location of the site within a residential area, the environmental impact of litter, its impact on competing local businesses, resulting traffic congestion in the area, health concerns from having a major fast food outlet in the area, and the fact that another McDonald’s restaurant is located only 5.8 kms away. Longtime Sawtell resident Ann Leonard described the proposal as ‘ludicrous’. “I haven’t spoken to anybody who is happy with this proposal,” Ms Leonard said. “It is something that needs to be brought to light within the community, because it does have a lot of issues with that location, starting with traffic, it’s a very congested area.” According to Ms Leonard, several other stores had operated in the same area McDonald’s is proposed to be located in and had failed. “I don’t think it is viable economically, as well as having negative social implications, and in that area also congestion from traffic,” she said. The local group behind the petition has also established a Facebook page titled ‘No 24/7 McDonalds in 2452’ to further express community opposition to the proposed development. David Munro, the local Franchisee and Director of The Munro Group, which operates McDonald’s Restaurants throughout the region, said that McDonald’s were committed to contributing to the Coffs Coast, through the creation of jobs and training opportunities. “With current unemployment in our region the highest in the country at over 11%, the opportunity to create 100 new jobs would be a massive boost to our local economy,” he said. It is estimated the proposed Toormina restaurant would provide an initial economic investment in excess of $5 million and support construction jobs during the build program. Additionally, employment opportunities provided by a McDonald’s restaurant generates on average more than $1 million in employee wages annually. Mr. Munro operates six restaurants and employs approximately 750 people across the region. The development application for the Toormina McDonald’s restaurant is currently being assessed by Coffs Harbour City Council and can be viewed on Council’s website at https://www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au. Public submissions can be made about the development application to Council using reference number 0810/20DA at https://forms.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/RunForm.aspx?formId=1365. By Emma DARBIN Coffs Harbour City Council.