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By EMMA SUN

“Tecoma is on the verge of a complete empty shopping strip; I fear for the future of the traders,” Traders Association president Karen Rook

TECOMA traders have opened up about their concerns for the town, amidst the battle between McDonald’s and protesters against the proposed fast food restaurant.
Throughout their battle against the corporate giant, anti-McDonald’s supporters have expressed their concerns that a McDonald’s would affect local traders.
However DVD Destinations owner Don Orpin said they needed to open their eyes and see what the protest was actually doing to the town.
“By prolonging their activities they are having a very strong adverse financial effect on a number of Tecoma traders who are the backbone of the town and vital for the town’s ongoing viability and vibrancy,” he said.
“They are also alienating a large section of the community who are indifferent to their protests or see McDonald’s as a positive for Tecoma.
“We are constantly being told by customers that they will not come back to this part of town, or in many instances, to Tecoma at all while the protests continue, as they feel intimidated by what is happening and are upset by how ugly the town looks.
“Unfortunately we can only agree with them because the whole area is like something out of the third world with graffiti covered compounds, plenty of noise and security guards, police and colourful protesters milling around.”
He said the protest had also caused access and parking problems, which he said had made the town a retailer’s nightmare.
Tecoma Traders’ Association president Karen Rook, who owns recycled kids clothing store Piccaninny, said shops had been becoming vacant along Burwood Highway, something that has never happened before, leaving her concerned that Tecoma would become a ghost town.
“This is the first time I’ve ever known for a shop along here to actually have a lease sign,” she said.
“I know things are really tough everywhere at the moment – I’ve been talking to other traders in other areas and they’re all noticing it so I can’t say that the protestors are actually stopping business for me particularly, but it is strange.
“I’ve never really seen them empty, they’ve always had someone within two to three months moving in, usually off their books.”
Ms Rook said many traders were struggling to hang on at the moment, and despite most traders not taking sides in the McDonald’s debate, some had been targeted and boycotted.
She urged Tecoma residents to support Tecoma traders, regardless of which side they were on.
“Tecoma is on the verge of a complete empty shopping strip; I fear for the future of the traders,” she said.
“Whether McDonald’s brings business or not, and we’re not saying it will bring business, but at the moment, anything is better than nothing.
“Tecoma has got to make it there, to get through the next six to 12 months, that’s what we’re worried about, we’re trying to make a living now.
“We’re tired of this fighting – whether you agree or not, you should keep that aside and keep coming to Tecoma to shop.”
Mr Orpin said as McDonald’s had the law on its side, it was time for the protesters to turn their attention into lobbying for a greater cause, to get the law changed for the benefit of the greater hills community in the future.
“Now is the time for them to be co-ordinating other hills communities and working with the council to lobby to have planning laws changed to legally prevent any future development of this nature occurring in our lovely and unique hills environment,” he said.
“It is the old cliché that sometimes you lose a battle to win a war and if having a McDonald’s store at Tecoma is the price to pay for a larger victory it will not be the end of the world.
“The community will become used to it, some will welcome it, most residents will patronise it at some time and the protesters can exercise their democratic rights and boycott it, and if they succeed in changing planning laws McDonald’s Tecoma will become a symbol of their resistance.”

  • Michael

    Good to finally see a balanced report of what is really happening in Tecoma. Good luck to the traders and genuine locals affected..look forward to a time when all gets back to normal, after we all realise the sky won’t fall in once McDonalds is built. Prosper Tecoma

    • Nick Seidenman

      Yes, I can see how “balanced” the reporting is, here. They talk to two or three shopkeepers who have historically opposed the protest and simply passed along their laments. No fact-checking, no opposing opinion, and no further opposing comments have been posted since yesterday.

      Balanced. Right.

  • mandy

    Great to finally see an unbiased view of what is really going on there. The protesters are not seeing the bigger picture at all and the traders are the ones suffering a lot throughout all this.

    • Nicole

      Sorry Mandy, who is not seeing the bigger picture? McDonald’s expects a turnover of $10,000 A DAY. That is $300,000 a month. Where do you think this comes from? From the other food related traders. As already seen in many other locations small businesses usually go under. Do you know any local business which could survive such a huge reduction of turn over?
      Many traders do support the campaign against McDonald’s… irrespective of a small who don’t

    • Nick Seidenman

      Yes, I can see how “balanced” and “unbiased” the reporting is, here. The writer spoke with two or three shopkeepers who have historically opposed the protest and simply passed along their laments. No fact-checking, no opposing opinion, and no further opposing comments have been posted since yesterday.

      Balanced. Right.

  • Lisa

    How on earth you can blame the protestors is beyond me. I have stopped frequenting Tecoma due to the domineering security guards intimidating me every time I step foot near that area. Blocking off access to local businesses. Seems to me McDonalds are dominating an area already and it is a sign of things to come. I support those traders who support a community opposed to this development. As far as Ms Rook goes she has been verbal about supporting a proposition that I do not see for my community so I wouldn’t step foot near there again and that is my choice. Seems a victim mentality to blame the protestors for ones own choices in being verbal and allienating her customers should be considered first and foremost! I look forward to positive welcoming small businesses opening in the area that have the same desire for the townships of the Dandenongs to support each other and THEIR COMMUNITY. I look forward to some positive new small businesses and with them will come more thriving small. Once the negativity of a select few have moved on! The chicken shop and bakery and dvd shop all still have my support where possible but one should be pointing the finger at the corporate bully responsible for the situation as it stands – not the majority of our beautiful community.

    • Christine Cope

      Lisa, The security guards are only there to stop the protestors not the general public. If you have been protesting at the site at all you have no legal right to enter the site or any where with-in the exclusion zones any way.

    • Christine Cope

      The secuirty guards only need to be there to stop the unlawful access by the protestors to the site or exclusion zones.

  • Pen

    Once McDonalds leave and take their guards with them the community will return. That simple. I wont shop in Tecoma if that place builds, I have said it all along and I mean it. Time they woke up. They have demolished our beautiful old buildings. They do not have support from me or my family. Locals have said that all along – about time they listened!

    • Alan Coutinho-Hogan

      Yes Pen we are all entitled to choose to shop wherever we like and to eat whatever we like.I will not personly go into a shop that I choose not to shop in. But I do not attemt to bully my veiws on other people that choose to shop there,of publish names and photos encouraging others not to shop there on social media as the anti pages do. I am now and allways have been a strong supporter of people having the freedom to make their own choice. I will make the point though at 66 years of age I have never before been to a maccas to eat. Now because of the anti maccas zealots I have chosen to eat at maccas whenever I am out and about on the highways,a stop that has never before entered my mind. Maccas will be in Tecoma soon and we can all make the choice as to wether we go there or not.

    • Christine Cope

      Pen, I won’t return while there is protesting at the site. But other wise game on!!!

  • Martin

    I think people need to stop victim-blaming. If looking at someone’s black eye makes you uncomfortable, maybe you should blame the person who hit them.

  • akarsini

    I no longer go to Tecoma shops due to the McDonalds development mostly due to their bullying intimidating security guards leering and photographing locals as they try to go to the milk bar or dvd store they have made bonsai bali restaurant inaccessible to most locals Tecoma Traders need to wake up and realise those in support of McDonalds disastrous 24 hour junk food outlet opposite the pre school and primary school where the road goes from 2 lanes to 1 800 mt from the national park have been misled by their so called president who says “Tecoma is just another suburb” then why not live in Boronia or Ferntree Gully if its all the same locals do not want fast food giant drive throughs so when McDonalds and their security leave locals will return if McDonalds go ahead they will no doubt be followed by KFC Red Rooster Hungry Jacks so easy just drive right through Tecoma if you wanted people into local business it should have been kept that Tecoma Local Family Business’

  • Lesley

    This is the most unbalanced report I have seen so far.
    The reality is McDonalds with they’re intimidating security guards are emptying Tecoma, I’ve spoken to quite a few people who frequented Bonsai Bali prior to Maccas invasion, and refuse to go there because of the security guards and the alleged assaults that have occurred on public land. The reality is most video shops are struggling because people are download movies & programs from the Internet, and most DVD stores can’t compete anymore, I live at Ferny Creek & the general store has gotten rid of the DVD rental section as ther is no money in it anymore.
    If people want to hang the loss of business on the Maccas protest I suggest you actually get your facts straight as this article is full of misinformation and just created more division in the community.. Oh! Sorry that is what Maccas wants, so they can walk in and take over. Lastly its interesting how this is pretty well the only article since this whole campaign started the mail has written, it makes me wonder whose running the show. The thing also is that there was so much more that could have been discussed in the article but it seems its so much easier to tow Macca’s part line. People aren’t going to stop in Tecoma because of the traffic, and business will suffer. even more once the bullies (security) have gone, because of the bottle neck. On the weekends the tourists will go up through the tourist road to Sassafras & Olinda as we all know Tecoma sees very little of the weekend tourist traffic.

  • McDonald’s has no care for local or small business in exactly equal measure as they hold no respect for the voice of the community. Just look at our freeways, signage that tells us there will be a KFC/Hungry Jack’s/McDonald’s along in 15k or whatever, while small independent businesses languish off the bypasses, trying to get rid of out-of-date Mars bars. This is a company all cosily tucked up in bed with global vandals such as BP and Shell. A cosy, cartel-like arrangement between companies whose global footprint is disastrous, but whose economic power is enormous. That economic power has been generated by their acquisition of property and globally, a marketing strategy that has ensured their domination of market share, very much at the expense of small business. Those large yellow M’s will shout their crass presence from the backdrop of our verdant mountain, much more loudly than the combined advertising power of the many restaurants and tea-houses dotted around the hills that McDonald’s would just love to drive out of business. I would have thought that the protest, would be helping small, independent businesses retain their share of the tourist dollars that they work so hard to earn. McDonald’s on the other hand have put zilch into the Dandenongs tourist industry but have spotted in Tecoma, a great opportunity to get their hands on a share of these revenues.

  • Moustafa Sayegh

    Nice article, and thankyou for allowing me to share my thoughts.
    I often travel through Tecoma, on my way to the hills.
    Tecoma is normally my first stop from Melbourne, where my and my parter stop for lunch, some shopping for last minute supplies, fuel etc.. and the moment a mcdonalds is built it will lose the prime aspect that encourages us to stop in tecoma- the first village that feels like country. If we can smell and see a mcdonalds, we will just keep driving to where we can not.

  • Kylie

    I support the protest and I support most of the traders in Tecoma. The only ones I don’t support, are the select few who have been quite nasty towards the locals showing their opposition to McDonalds. Bon Ton, the Bakery, Little Dance, the fish and chip shop, Charcoal Chicken, are some of the ones I frequent on a regular basis.

  • Heath

    If the proposed development goes ahead this will seriously impact the walk-up nature of the Tecoma Village Shops. It will become pedestrian unfriendly with a high level or vehicular traffic crossing the footpaths and clogging up Sandells Road. This will be even worse at school times, detering people from parking or stopping at the shops just to simply get out of the mayhem it will cause. Interestingly the article doesnt speak to any of the Food shops located around the site e.g. Bonsai Bali, who have been most affected by this development essetially having their access blocked by security gaurds.

  • Carol Perrie

    I dont use Mcdonalds but have nothing against them except the rubbish dumped everywhere from the people who get takeaway there :/

  • Nick Seidenman

    To lay the blame for the decrease in business on the protestors is simply not logical. It’s like saying the bruise on your head was caused by your front door, rather than by an assailant striking you with it as theyforced their way into your home.

    McDonalds has assaulted our town, has forced its way into our home. The blame lies squarely on McDonalds’ doorstep. There was absolutely no question that this community did not want McDonalds here. McDonalds put up the hoardings, the disruptive traffic barriers and hired thuggish security guards because they knew — THEY knew — that this community wasn’t going to just let them come in without a fight. Their PR campaign has been to simply blame the victim, they would have you believe they are the victim in all this. “Vocal minority”, indeed.

    Shops in Tecoma depend on pedestrian traffic. A drive-thru will not only reduce this, but a 24/7 store will attract the sort of late-night “foot traffic” that get their kicks by defacing and destroying shops that are closed during those hours.

    As for any decrease in business, it’s one thing to make such a claim, and it’s another to actually support it with facts. I’ve only lived here a few years, but my guess would be that most, if not all the the downturn, if there even is any, is seasonal, due to the smaller number of daylight hours. I’d be surprised if businesses that have done well, here, are somehow no longer doing well, seasonal or cyclic factors aside. Facts, rather than anecdotes, would be most welcome.

    One last thing: My wife and I spent nearly two years looking for the home that we eventually bought in Tecoma. Part of what made the town so attractive to us were all the little shops along Burwood Hwy, the small businesses trying to make a go of it, the fact that these were NOT chains, that there were no big, look-alike stores, and that on one in their right mind would build a drive-thru here. If you’re one of those shopkeepers, know that you are a big part of the reason we moved to Tecoma, and REGARDLESS of what your opinion is on McDonalds, for or against, we still think you are a big part what makes Tecoma so very special, and we join with our friends an neighbours to fight to keep Tecoma the sort of place where your business can thrive. We’re fighting for you, too.

    McDonalds couldn’t care less about your business.

  • Nick Seidenman

    I wanted to address something Mr. Orpin said in a separate note. He wrote, “… as McDonald’s had the law on its side, it was time for the protesters to turn their attention into lobbying for a greater cause, to get the law changed for the benefit of the greater hills community in the future.”

    In fact, we ARE protesting for greater cause. This protest is NOT soley about having or not having a McDonalds here in Tecoma. It’s really about the way they trampled the Democratic Process to bully their way in. Their request for a permit was clearly and unambiguously turned down by our local council in a unanimous decision, following the submission of an unprecedented number of written objections to their application, having deemed it “unacceptable” and inappropriate. The planning laws in Victoria, specifically clause 65, constitutes the local council’s authority to make this determination.

    McDonalds, not satisfied with the democratic outcome, took their case to VCAT, which is comprised of “members” who are appointed by the queen’s representative in Victoria. They are not elected. They need not be judges. They need not even be lawyers. In fact, VCAT, strictly-speaking, isn’t even a court. And yet, it has the power to override any local council decision, so long as it is “legal”. What constitutes a “legal” VCAT decision is so over-broad that they can do pretty much anything they like so long as it isn’t clearly criminal.

    And, just to make sure you understand how undemocratic VCAT is, how little your voice, my voice, and the voice of all or friends and neighbours matter anymore, the recent VCAT decision against Stonnington confirmed their stance that community objection is “irrelevant”, regardless of how many object.

    THIS is the larger issue, Mr. Orpin . Our democracy in Australia is being replaced with unelected, unaccountable institutions that can decide the fate and composition of OUR communities, forcing us to bear the consequences of their bad decisions.

    This may be “legal” in a strict sense, but it is by no means moral. The Law is meant to be a reflection of the norms and mores of the community who live by it. When that reflection becomes distorted, it isn’t the community that must adapt; it is the Law which must be changed.

  • David

    Interesting that The Tecoma Traders Association has reappeared. It was deregistered in 1999 but re-registered just 6 weeks ago (18th July). It would be interesting to know how many traders are actually members of this new association and how many of the traders inTecoma are actually willing to have Karen speak on their behalf. It would be very interesting to know how much support there is amongst existing food traders for this idea of letting McD’s build and then see what happens. I am sure they would not be happy with the totally inequitable competition that McD’s, with their millions of dollars spent each year on advertising, would create for local small food traders.
    I also note that when the Salvation Army proposed to set up a store in Tecoma, trading in used clothing in direct competition to Ms Rook, that she was the first to complain and ask our community what we were going to do to fight the intrusion to Tecoma of this unfair competitor to her business.
    Also, if McD’s does build and then pulls out of this unfinancial location would the Tecoma Traders Association be willing to have the inappropriate and ugly building pulled down and removed? Or would they just accept it as a precedent and let other large corporations come into town to pull down other small buildings to build large ones, turning Tecoma from a Hills Town into just another Glen Waverley? Let’s look at the big picture.

  • Allison

    I moved to the hills precisely because there are no fast food giants, concrete jungles and over development. I would like to make it very clear that if McDonalds succeeds and does build in Tecoma, i will not be going anywhere near that section of road, anywhere near tecoma village and i would avoid sending my kids to the school at all costs. The peaceful protestors are NOT responsible for poor business in Tecoma. McDonalds bullying their way in, bulldozing much loved buildings and suing residents IS! Most people feel intimidated by the presence of thuggish security guards who have verbally abused people, physically abused people and who film and photograph people so that they can appear to be threatening legal action. McDonalds has also refused locals access to car parking and at one point put threatening letters on peoples cars. Meanwhile the protestors knit, sing, hold signs, smile and wave at passer bys and enjoy food and drink either made for them by the lovely locals or purchased at the bakery and BP shops. Final point – when in business one must be careful not to alienate customers. Those businesses that openly support McDonalds and say negative things in public about the community protest are making it difficult for themselves. 9 out of 10 don’t want it. why on earth would you go about offending that majority and then whining that no one is coming in to your shop? How about working together to achieve a united and thriving Tecoma village shopping strip?

  • Robert

    Won’t be going to DVD Destination anymore after being a regular customer – the community does want McDonalds. Certainly won’t be going near any of the shops if that fast-food monster is put there.

  • Boxcar

    How many of the protestors are Fly In Fly Out ?

    • Nick Seidenman

      Precisely zero.

  • Otto

    What do i think?
    I couldn’t care less if Tecoma slid of the side of the mountain.
    I just came here to verify the reports on a very big forum about the doctoring of the like and dislike button.
    There does seem to be evidence of it. Is that the Occupy Melbourne contingent giving you guys a hand over there and here as reported?

  • Visitor

    Although I’m not a Tecoma local, I used to drive through frequently and often stopped for a coffee and snack or lunch. The only reason I stopped was because of the hired thugs, not because of the protesters and this quote from Rook says it all “I know things are really tough everywhere at the moment – I’ve been talking to other traders in other areas and they’re all noticing it so I can’t say that the protestors are actually stopping business for me particularly, but it is strange …” No it’s not strange at all, as stated business is tough everywhere and has nothing to do with the protesters. Not a balanced article and lays the blame in the wrong direction as far as I’m concerned. Until I can once again take a walk and stretch my legs without being told by McThugs where I can and can’t go, you’ve lost my business, it’s as simple as that.

  • Kate

    Of course Tecoma businesses need local trade, absolutely. But to blame the protest for loss of business and not the fact this massive development is an eye sore, McDonald’s security are scaring away customers with intimidation and even a recent assault (charges were laid and this was NOT a protester) which puts off most locals, seems totally biased.

    Karen Roof herself said, “I know things are really tough everywhere at the moment – I’ve been talking to other traders in other areas and they’re all noticing it so I can’t say that the protestors are actually stopping business for me particularly, but it is strange”.

    And there have been heaps of empty vacant shops up for lease for months in Tecoma over the years! The prices are way too high, too many businesses fail because of it, and it puts off other small local businesses to come in and have a go. I know, because a couple years ago friends and myself thought about leasing one.

  • M Taylor

    It’s a shame some traders are struggling, but in the case of shops like DVD Destination, it’s a sign of the times, it’s easy to blame the protest, but the walk-in film rental industry has been dying for a long time.

    I frequent a lot of the shops in Tecoma, the ones I use are usually quite busy, and don’t appear to have any trading difficulties.

    If you have a struggling retail outlet, you need to look at the products you are selling, if you have a desirable offering, the customers will appear, protest or no protest.

    I think the only outlet to have been truly affected is Bonsai Bali, where the Maccas security guards are intimidating potential customers (on land they do not own).

  • Alan Coutinho-Hogan

    Emma Sun and the Mail have done a fantastic job in reporting honestly the other side of a story that has effected this community for many years to come because of the personel vitriol inflicted on far to many innocent folk around the hills. This anti maccas campaign will be a long remembered political campaign that went wrong in a big way. Along with the Toorak Times the Mail Newspaper Group can hold themselves up as being true community newspapers that are not afraid to give their readers an honest veiw from both sides.

  • Community member

    Stand up and support your community. Whether you want McDonalds or not. All older style shopping strips are finding it tough, however now is the best Tecoma has been in a long time. Many new shops have moved in, ones that find it tough may not be suited to the area or the times. I do feel sorry for DVD Destination. Unfortunately, DVD hire shops aren’t doing well at all. I do not believe for one minute that the protesters are scaring people away. I’d be more concerned with the security in place.

  • Kim

    If anyone is to blame it is McDonalds for not accepting the councils decision. I purposely shop in Tecoma when I’m in the hills (ex hills resident) but if McDonalds is there I will stop elsewhere as I visit the hills and shop there to support local traders it’s refreshing compared to bland suburbs awash with multinational takeaway stores.

  • Margaret Tyson

    A new Facebook Page called “Local Ranges” has been set up, in response to worried Tecoma traders. On this page, people can recommend local Hills businesses. Lets’s all support our Traders by shopping and eating locally. If McDonalds do put up a successful business there, our local people are going to need all the help they can get.

  • Kerry

    Not sure the article was specifically about the protesters, but definitely about how Tecoma is at this current juncture.

    The article didn’t cover an important set of facts:
    McDonald’s property (and the empty plot they’ve been given permission to use during construction), is between the property on which the DVD Destination/Fat Space Gallery/Op Shop and food businesses such as Bonsai Bali restaurant and a pizza shop are.

    The carpark used by Bonsai Bali customers is down a drive which is partly owned by McDonald’s and they have opted to block access down this. DVD Destination customers during the day have to contend with large trucks & construction traffic through the small carpark that they use. They cannot use the Bonsai Bali carpark either because McDonald’s have also blocked off access from the rear.

    Imagine how much of an impact there will be when these access routes become a 24 hour drive thru?

    The security guards hired by McDonald’s photograph & document anyone coming near the site, be they protesters, passers by, customers or children. They have threatened, intimidated, and on occasion assaulted those wishing to access Bonsai Bali and also once an elderly lady waiting for her friend. They tell shoppers that they cannot use the carpark and tell pedestrians that they cannot walk along the temporary footpath out front.

    The intimidation is 10 times worse after dark when there are less people around, with more than one woman reporting being surrounded by male security when trying to pass by.

    Can you imagine how much locals will enjoy visiting these local businesses when the carparks are full of gangs of teenagers etc? The same people who for the past 4 months have been yelling abuse and throwing McDonald’s rubbish out of their car in passing?

    It is not a surprise that these local businesses, and DVD Destination in particular, are suffering. Unfortunately it’s only going to get worse IF the McDonald’s is built.

    As for there being stores for lease and that never having happened before: not true. Tecoma has had empty stores for the last several years because people often prefer to travel via car to large shopping areas where they see themselves having more choice, than supporting local shopping strips. They prefer to go to the supermarket for their pet food, Kmart for their kids goods and would rather buy their own DVDs and games (or download them) than rent.

    This is a particular problem in the hills because the majority of the stores cater for passing tourists rather than locals and public transport has gaps big enough to drive a bus through. As long as you don’t mind waiting.

    This is what progress brings us. Cheaper goods & cheaper food, transported thousands of miles, yet readily available at the cost of local businesses and economies.

    IF McDonald’s is built, local food businesses will suffer and this will quickly have a knock on effect on the remaining small businesses that still cater to locals. People like Karen who runs Piccaninny. People like the Nappy Lady. Businesses like DVD Destination. Those restaurants that are open only in the evenings.

    One of the fears of the protesters, myself included, is that local businesses will suffer and in that Karen is right: we’ve become so tied up in stopping the McDonald’s, we’ve forgotten that the local businesses need us NOW.

    So please, Tecoma and the wider hills community, do not be intimidated. Support your local businesses now at this critical time and show them that they are critical to the resilience and vibrancy of our communities.

  • Marie

    It’s about time a reasonable voice was heard on this issue. For too long it’s only been the protestors voice being heard.

    I feel sorry for the security guards who have to patrol the site night and day. My son’s school did an excursion to the protest site and he was shocked that five protesting people he spoke to didn’t even live up here. He asked “what are they even doing there then?”. He also said their arguments looked okay at first glance, then got progressively nuttier such as “subliminal advertising” and “corporate conspiracies”. Seriously. Many of them hate Maccas just because it’s Maccas. Well sorry, that’s not a reasoned or logical argument as far as I’m concerned. I hate Subway but it’s in Belgrave and I don’t eat there. It’s pretty simple really. Vote with your feet. Or your mouth, as it were. Don’t eat there if you don’t like it.

    We’re been ambivalent about it in our house but find ourselves siding more with McDonald’s due to the behaviour of the protestors. It’s making people irrational.

    The stupid thing is that there’s many issues in the Hills I’d probably stand shoulder to shoulder with the protestors about. But this isn’t one of them, that’s for sure. Time to move on and turn their attention to things that really matter.

  • joy

    The real truth is that all the small food shops will suffer from a MacDonalds intrusion. ….haven’t heard any of them complaining about protesters.

  • Nat

    If Ms Rook has “Never really seen [any of the shops] empty” she can’t have looked very hard. The development at 1563-1565 Burwood Hwy took a long time to fill (the photo from Google Maps street view in Jan 2010 shows three of the five shops empty). There have always been empty shops on the strip at 1527 (where Bonsai Bali is) and at the court at 1567(near the bakery). The old florist shop was empty for ages, no doubt because McDonald’s was going to bulldoze the building. McDonald’s does, however, need to be given the credit for helping lease the old butcher’s shop at 1567- Saffron Cottage moved there after McDonald’s flattened their old building.

  • Garry of Tecoma

    Everybody up here is sick to death of these idiot protesters. They are fanatics and their leader Garry Muratore just loves to see himself on TV he and wants to be the big star in the documentary they are making about this. The protesters are an embarrassment to the town and are hurting local traders they supposedly support.

    • Sharon

      Totally agree, the protesters are the thugs and liars, they have been charged with trespass and one has been charged with pushing a security guard in front of a truck. “Peaceful protesters” – really?

  • I am from North America and just learned about this and am not sure how I ended up on this page. While searching for more information I discovered a lot of material and videos. Initially, I wasn’t that supportive of keeping a chain out of your town but as I read more sources/accounts of your story, I became curious to find out more.

    While you may lose your fight in your city… I have decided not to frequent MacDonalds here after seeing one of the abc.au videos with various interviews of the Australian MacDonalds CEO and taking the fight to Chicago.

    I have had a favorable impression of MacDonalds my entire life but only frequent the chain perhaps 10 times a year mostly during travel. I believe you are being bullied and the chain is using intimidation tactics… The turning point for me was observing the security cards in one of the abc interviews. Filming the press and then turning their back on the camera when confronted by your press – it made me realize that the many stories I found about the tactics being employed could actually be true.

    The world is a smaller place with the internet and while my habits of not frequenting a MacDonald’s here will not hurt the chain, I can’t support a company that will employ every tactic to win. I realize that not every franchisee is bad but at some point, one has to stand for what they feel is right. We have lots of fast food choices here so they will now get new business not because they are less better but because they are under the radar. No matter how you want to look at it, this is really bad press if I am learning about it over here.

    With that, I am moving on and will not know how this ever ended up.

    Both sides definitely will do what it takes to win. Not sure why I spent so much time writing this but thanks if you read it.

    Good Luck to both sides.

  • As a Township Group that has the advancement and improvement of Tecoma at its heart it is sad to see the division that’s been created in the community by the McDonald’s development. But what is more disturbing than this multinational company that has shown it couldn’t care less about our community is the somewhat illogical stand of a few local business people

    In the Supreme Court McDonald’s claimed that they will have a revenue of $10,000 per day (~ $300,000 a month) at the Tecoma outlet. They also stated in VCAT that they are not “a destination”, meaning people are not expected to drive to Tecoma just to go to Maccas. It means that this is not new revenue being brought into the area, it is revenue that will be lost to existing traders. Now that will hurt local traders! How many local food shops can survive with a substantial drop in their income?

    Our local shops depend on foot traffic. Foot traffic which will not be increased by a drive through restaurant (again McDonald’s own material states 60% of their business will be drive through only). Do you know anyone who specifically drives to McDonald’s in Boronia and then has a stroll through the shops?

    Astonishingly the article (on page 1 of the Ferntree Gully Belgrave Mail last week) leaves out the fact that we actually have had several new shops open up in Tecoma! The Dance Academy, Garage Cafe, Fatspace, Little Dance party supplies, Saffron Cottage and My Foreign Heart opposite Country Cookies! Shop occupancy is currently at least that of previous years.

    It is not the protesters who are dividing the community. The campaign is to prevent McDonald’s and any fast food drive-through chain establishing themselves in the Dandenong Ranges, or the Yarra Valley. The campaign is to protect this unique environment and retain its rural tourist attraction. It is not the protesters who are creating negativity. Several incidents of brutality towards innocent by-passers by McDonald’s security guards have been reported to the police .

    The overall feedback in the community is not in support of this overdevelopment. What we do have is a very vocal local minority in favour of it. A minority who, to advance their own agendas, apparently won’t stop from furthering any division in the community. Just 10 people fronted up as supporters at a (deleted recent) pro-Maccas rally at the site.

    It would be interesting to know just what level of support for the development exists amongst the Tecoma Traders given that the Tecoma Traders Association, disbanded in 2002, has only been resurrected in the past 7 weeks, probably for the purpose of this publicity.

    McDonald’s are still to publish the results of a phone survey they conducted in the area in 2012, so obviously the results do not show much support. And even though McDonald’s agreed in a meeting with delegates from the community to provide this info they still haven’t done so months later. There has never been a public rally or survey showing majority support for this development but there has been a unanimous decision against it by our elected representatives.

    We couldn’t care less if you want to eat at McDonald’s or not. That is your choice and with 107 stores already in eastern Melbourne there is plenty from which to choose. What we do care about is the blatant targeted advertising by McDonald’s of our children, particularly those diagonally opposite in our Kinder and Primary Schools.
    We do care about the fact that our democracy in Australia is being replaced by unelected, unaccountable institutions such as VCAT that can decide the fate of our communities, forcing us to bear the consequences of their bad decisions. And most importantly, we do care about the future viability of our small traders if a large corporation sets up in town and removes a large portion of their current revenue.

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