Melbourne Odds and Ends

Burger Off

Tecoma is a small town in the Dandenong Ranges, the hills on the edge of Melbourne. It has a population of only 2085.

In 2011, McDonald’s lodged a planning application with the local Council for a 24 hour outlet with drive through in Tecoma. This application was met with a record number of 1,170 written objections from residents, raising concerns relating to traffic, litter, noise, crime, impact on existing local businesses, its position opposite a primary school and kindergarten, the development not befitting the character of the Hills, the demolition of the historic Hazel Vale Dairy building which currently resides at the proposed site, and so on.

On October 11th 2011, local Councillors met and voted on the proposed development. 650 local residents attended to hear the decision and once again voice their objections. The Shire of Yarra Ranges Council UNANIMOUSLY rejected the proposal. The McDonald’s Corporation then took their application to VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) for review. On October 10th 2012, VCAT overruled Yarra Ranges Council’s decision, deeming the overwhelming objections of the local community as “irrelevant“, and granted McDonald’s planning permission for this highly inappropriate and unwelcome development.

Do we need another McDonalds?

(Photo from the Burger Off website)

There has been a fantastic protest against the development. And I really hope they are successful.

Want to know more?

Burger Off’s website

No McDonalds in the Dandenongs Facebook page


12 replies on “Burger Off”

I totally agree. The map of the McDonald outlets is rather scary — rather like an army invading! I would like to boycott them, but I never go in them, so it is a meaningless action. 🙂


I have been following this story in the news with much interest. It beggars belief that they will go against the council and the locals who all so clearly don’t want it.
I hate these fast food places at the best of times, let alone when they think they can invade these small coffee and cake towns. People don’t drive up the Dandenongs for maccas do they?! They can stay in the suburbs for that. When they go there they want peace and cappuccino, not plastic burger.
Hopefully reason will prevail and they will never get their claws in to such a small place, otherwise heaven help all those other small places who try to stand against them. 😦


I live in that ‘small town in the Dandenongs’ and my small town has been taken over by a group of people with and agenda…….. and most of them DO NOT live in my town. They are extremely well funded and well organised. I walk past the site every day.
This development was given the go ahead because the council’s planning laws ALLOW such developments
All the young people have to go outside the area to get jobs and this development will provide more than one hundred part time jobs.
People need to eat and people need to work.
All you are hearing is the LOUD minority.
There was a survey of the residents and the anti Maccas people claim that 9 out of ten said that they don’t want the development……… they don’t tell you what questions they asked and they don’t mention that 30% of those surveyed said ‘no comment’ How do you get 9 out of ten if 30% didn’t comment?
The leaders of this movement are from the ‘Occupy Melbourne movement’…. this doesn’t get mentioned.
The bloke who owned the land and McDonalds did their homework and followed the law so why should they not be allowed to operate their business?
We have young friends who recently gave birth. Their son has been clinging to life after a heart op’ and his parent, who are from the country, are staying at RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE!!

We live in a Capitalist society which has rules and regulations. Those who abide by the law should be allowed to create employment and carry on their business without the fear of being harassed.

I live in Tecoma and I want the trouble makers to go back to their homes, abide by the law and GIVE ME BACK MY SUBURB!



Terry, it is great to hear from you and I really appreciate that you have taken the time to put the other side to me. You have forced me, in a good way, to think about my instinctive support. And I hasten to say that I am not involved with the dispute, and am only going on what I read and hear. This is what I have come up with.

Two things jump out at me about this issue.
Firstly VCAT. It seems to have very wide powers and often makes decisions that fly against what locals want or what is appropriate for the area. I have seen that happen around where I live in regards to building approvals. My hackles were raised when I heard that in this case it had virtually ignored the objections and Council’s unanimous vote against McDonalds.

My second, stronger concern is about the homogenization of our world. I feel that we are being overwhelmed and our options are shrinking. Fewer newspapers and therefore investigative journalists; fewer supermarkets and fewer real choices on their shelves; fewer foods that are not controlled by big agribusiness; fewer bookshops; fewer…..[add your own in here]. For me, and I think many other people, McDonalds is the flagship of that homogenization. So I want to cheer on those who are resisting its arrival; I want to support farmers’ markets and organic growers, or at the very least, Australian grown produce; I want to be able to drink coffee at local shops; I want to revel in the handmade and home grown; I want my suburb/city/state/country to be culturally and visually diverse.

Such a complex issue! I know that I haven’t directly addressed your arguments, Terry, and to be honest, I don’t know that I can. But because you have encouraged me to think, I feel that my instinctive support was the right one, for me.


I agree with almost everything you had to say and I must say that it feels very strange for me to be defending big business [if my younger self could hear me he would be amazed] but I’m annoyed that this issue seems to have only one side. As for Vcat, they only do what the council’s planning scheme tells them to do and in this case it said that this type of development was appropriate.
My question has always been….. where were all these people BEFORE the VCAT decision? It was only afterwards that all this started……… it’s over…. they miscalculated and thought that VCAT would be swayed by talk of fat children……. that is not what VCAT does and it was naive to think otherwise.
I could have lived quite happily without a Maccas in my town but now that it is coming why aren’t these people doing what they can to work with Maccas to the betterment of Tecoma? The answer is simple, they are more interested in pushing a wider agenda that cares little about the peace and quiet of my little town.
Thank you for your reply to my comments….. I respect your right to support whoever you like. Thank you for letting me put another view.
Be well.


Anne, both your post and Terry’s comments raise interesting points. I ordinarily have been quick to take the anti-Macca’s side… although when on road trips, I’ve been known to partake. Other than what you describe about Tecoma, and Terry’s response, I know little but I am familiar with other similar types of areas. And this is where my wondering starts. When are the local businesses open and who do they cater to? How many people do they employ, and how well? We regulary drive 600 kms up the Pacifc Highway in NSW from Sydney to Macksville/Nambucca Heads. We’ve tried eating locally rather than globally and the disappointments have been many but less from Macca’s. Last weekend on a quick trip (we flew) we noted despite it being the middle of the school holidays there was no-one on the streets in Macksville and very few shops open. In Nambucca, at the Macca’s and nearby there were heaps of cars stopped at local businesses which were open. We bought pies from the local Macksville bakery but there were few other viable options. We feel the same about the local markets, they get very uninspiring patronage both from buyers and sellers. It appears unliely they will continue which is disappointing as it’s a community that has much to offer, if only. There was a huge outcry when a Woolworths (creating much needed jobs) but the reality was the other local co-op supermarket needed the competition to make it pick up its act. There was also dissent when the Macca’s was built. But who else was prepared to invest in the area? There’s a proliferation of vacant commercial premises.
I wonder if it’s possible for the Macca’s to be fitted into the historic Hazel Vale Dairy building, at least the old building wouldn’t be lost.
Lots of questions and no answers.


EllaDee, I think your comment of “Who else was prepared to invest in the area” sums up the issue of investment and jobs that Terry mentioned in his first comment. Woolworths/Coles/McDonalds/Bunnings/etc are the businesses that have the scale to be able to employ more than a couple of people — and often young people. It can be at the expense of other businesses in town. But how much loyalty or commitment do they have to the community they are moving into?

You are right — Lots of questions and no answers, certainly no easy answers!


There’s been a similar fight against 7-11’s, a national chain of convenience stores, here in NYC. But so far they seem to be winning.


You know, it’s ironic. I can’t remember the last time a new McDonalds opened in NYC. Maybe we’re already oversaturated with them? There’s also been an invasion of Subway’s that have been opening up. And in many cases, a Subway will go out of business and then another one will open up later in the same location!


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