Plan for a new McDonalds leaves community divided
A multimillion-dollar development proposal for a McDonalds restaurant and service station in Woolgoolga has been met with mixed reactions from residents.
Fortitude Valley-based firm BTC Properties has lodged an application to construct a 24-hour Mobil petrol station, a convenience store and a drive-through McDonalds restaurant on Clarence St at the site of the Pinelodge Motel.
An application was previously lodged over the site in 2013 for a Bi-Lo Supermarket.
The proposed new $5-million development would see the creation of a ‘Welcome to Woolgoolga’ sign, as well as three fuel bowsers, a 54-space parking lot, footpaths, two driveways for vehicle entry and a new deceleration lane on Solitary Islands Way.
BTC Properties has stated in its application papers that the construction phase would involve the direct and indirect employment of up to 300 people.
Service station operator Mobil has advised it would employ a manager, four full-time staff and five casual staff, while McDonalds has advised it would employ more than 100 people in its Woolgoolga restaurant.
Reminiscent of Byron Bay’s long-held battle against the fast food giant, some locals have aired their concerns that a McDonalds in the small seaside village would hurt small business and cause traffic congestion.
“I think people need to think carefully as to whether they prefer their money to go to the multi-billion conglomerates or to be in the hands of small franchisees and small business owners. Woopi appeals to many because it is largely untouched by mass development,” wrote Nin Muma.
“Spare me. Enjoy the empty kilojoules. Just what our little takeaway places need - competition from a multinational,” Alex Wilson said.
“First thoughts are that it will cause both congestion and collisions because of turning traffic. Also pedestrian access will be dangerous. Maybe not the right site,” said Labor candidate and Woolgoolga local Tony Judge.
But others have embraced the proposal for its potential to boost employment and tourism in the village.
“Great job opportunities for our young people. Not a lot around in Woopi for after school and weekend jobs. Would love this for our future generations,” Laura-Jane Fowler wrote.
“Great job opportunities for our young people. Not a lot around in Woopi for after school and weekend jobs. Would love this for our future generations,” Kristie Wellington wrote.
“Great idea, will bring people off the highway and into town,” Matt Ridley wrote.
Previous developments completed by BTC Properties include service stations in Northlakes and Jimboomba in Queensland, a restaurant in Coolangatta and a car dealership in Windsor.