The No McDonald’s in Tecoma has raised some interesting issues relating to the Right To Protest.
A number of groups are protesting against the building of a McDonald’s in Tecoma.
They are made up of splinter groups and co-ordinated campaigns:
- No Maccas in the Hills Facebook Page
- No McDonalds in the Dandenong Ranges Facebook Page
- Say No to the Commercialisation of Healesville
- Burger Off
- Tecoma Village Action Group
We all reserve the right to protest, but where does that right start and finish?
We spoke with a number of locals, and it became quickly apparent that not everyone is on the side of the protesters
Many locals expressed concern about the protesters and the message they were sending to the wider community.
One lady said, I don’t know who they are, and who are they protesting for? I have nothing against McDonald’s, so why are thoese people protesting on my behalf? Another local expressed the opinion, how is it that they are allowed to protest on “private property”? This is not a state forest where the land belongs to the people, that is private land, privately owned.
Patricia Boras said she welcomed McDonald’s because it would bring jobs to the area. Others say a lot of people are against the project and will boycott McDonald’s if it is built.
The case went before council and was rejected. One for the protesters. But then it went to VCAT and the planning and building permission was granted. They have had their day in court, and didn’t like the answer. Tell that to the people of Northcote, where they built a 8 story building on top of the shopping plaza. They protested too, albeit on public land before marching into the plaza.
Who are these protesters? We heard this a number of times. Yes, one or two are well known local activists. One person said, yep, they are activists alright, professionally employed by the Government (dole) to protest whenever something they don’t like comes there way. But what about the others? I’ve never seen half these people before, let alone have them protest against something that me as a local am not bothered about.
Have you heard some of the claims?
- Concerns relating to traffic, litter, noise and crime
- opposite a Primary and Pre School
- within 1 kilometre of a National Park
- not befitting the character of the Hills
- demolition of the historic Hazel Vale Dairy
- local amenity issues
Some people just don’t like progress. He chuckled and remembered the dairy. Well, it was a good dairy business but the locals did nothing went it started going down hill. I wonder where these locals were buying milk because it weren’t locally otherwise the dairy might still be here.
And then there is that woman that was injured. She says she was pulled off the roof by security guards, whereas the Police say she simply fell off the roof. Listening to the woman on ABC radio and another weepy caller who rang in on her behalf left everyone wondering. Two very different versions of what happened.
Whip them into a frenzy, this is from the BurgerOff web site: On Sunday October 14th 2012, within 4 days of this decision being passed, approximately 600 local residents united to ‘Reclaim Tecoma’ and planted a Community Garden at the proposed site in protest of the devastating VCAT ruling and the McDonald’s Corporation’s refusal to take ‘No’ for an answer.
- reclaim = Did VCAT take away Tecoma?
- planted a Community Garden.. have a look at what they planted and see whats left?
- devastating.. interesting word?
- McDonald’s refusal to take ‘No’ for an answer… or the campaigners refusal to take ‘Yes’ for an answer
Then there is the union. Some reports suggest the union had taken the side of the protesters, yet Victorian Trades Hall Council campaigns officer Luke Halikari said that the union only had safety concerns about the project, not the protest itself. He went onto say, “We haven’t put a ban on or a PIN notice, we’re trying to do this the right way.” But if you listen to the protesters and hype, the unions are on their side.
There are two sides to every story, as this campaign clearly shows. Sometimes there are no rights or wrongs, just differences of opinion. Progress is not always seen as a valid reason, but Tecoma hardly seems the place where it will stop the march of progress, specially when its on private land.