FINGER lickin' good or bad?
That's the decision facing Byron Shire Council after Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) indicated this week it wants to set up shop in Byron Bay, a town that famously stopped fast-food giant McDonald's opening an outlet in the 1990s.
Colonel Sanders' representatives have contacted council requesting a meeting next week to discuss opening a franchise, although it is not known whether the company already has a location earmarked.
Greens mayor Simon Richardson is predicting fierce opposition against KFC in a community "empowered" by stopping liquor giant Dan Murphy's opening earlier this year, and gearing up for a battle against coal seam gas mining.
"This will be seen as the next struggle. We'll take the challenge up," said Cr Richardson, who was at the forefront of the 'Do you want lies with that?' and 'No Maccin' way' anti-McDonalds protest of 1997.
He said a "symbolic" multinational fast-food giant in town would damage the tourism industry by detracting from its uniqueness.
"I don't feel anyone will be popping the champagne corks. It will be either muted resignation or opposition," he predicted of his fellow councillors' reaction to KFC.
Cr Richardson said zoning-wise council had few powers, "but there are certain social impacts we can put on a DA requirement".
In recent years, multinationals and chain stores have almost become the norm in Byron largely due to big companies being among the few who can afford the hefty commercial rents.
Among the big names already trading in the town are Subway, Baskin and Robbins, Domino's Pizza and Sportsgirl with a Bunnings Hardware store set to open next year in the industrial estate.
But Paul Waters, the president of the town's leading business group Byron United, said Byron's streetscape remained unique and a KFC would accelerate the town's homogenisation.
He said there were already chicken shops in town providing a quality service. A meeting between KFC and the mayor is likely to take place early next week.
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