Fast food giant forced to wait

Permission for a second McDonald’s restaurant in Traralgon has not yet been granted, with Latrobe City Council deferring a decision until the next council meeting on 10 June.

The fast-food chain has applied to build a restaurant on the corner of Princes Highway and McNairn Road, just two kilometres away from the existing restaurant located near Stockland Plaza.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said franchisee of the existing restaurant, Darren Cowell, would run the additional restaurant.

The spokesperson also dispelled rumours it would be a replacement for the existing fast-food restaurant.

Council officers had recommended councillors approve the planning permit, but Cr Kellie O’Callaghan instead moved to defer the decision.

Cr O’Callaghan said there was interest within the community, referencing the 260 comments The Express had received by Monday night on a Facebook post mentioning the fast-food giant’s plans.

“The responses are diverse, but clearly represent a level of community feeling and opinion that have yet to be explored during the notification process,” Cr O’Callaghan said.

“This (deferral) will allow an opportunity for any concerned residents to request a time to present to councillors at the Public Presentation session or subsequent council meeting.”

Cr O’Callaghan said the nature of the notification process, in this instance, resulted in a general lack of community awareness of the development prior to Monday.

“I have spoken to the applicant’s representative regarding a range of concerns and believe that a more detailed exploration of these matters is essential to the further consideration of this matter,” she said.

“We should allow our community the opportunity to also participate in a robust conversation regarding the intent for the development and actively explore those issues that have come to light within the community.”

Mayor Sharon Gibson said it was important to bear in mind council’s decision had to be made on planning grounds.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said the company assessed a range of factors including the availability of sites, consumer demand, suitable zoning, and access to major thoroughfares when considering opening a second restaurant.

“McDonald’s will continue to work closely with the Latrobe City Council on the approval process,” the spokesperson said.