Australia’s fattest town gets fourth Macca’s
A fourth McDonald's has been given the green light to be built in Australia's fattest town.
Councillors voted on Tuesday night in support of the development in the country music capital of Tamworth, in northeast New South Wales.
The fast food restaurant will be constructed on the corner of Peel and Marius streets in North Tamworth, next to an aged care facility, and includes a McCafe, play area and waiting bays.
The site is a walking distance of 2.5km from McDonald's in the regional city centre, 3km from McDonald's Tamworth West and 5.9km from McDonald's Tamworth South.
It has an estimated construction cost of $3.34 million and is expected to open late next year.
Tamworth Regional Council received 20 submissions over two public exhibition periods this year, "indicating a level of community concern".
Among the concerns raised was that Tamworth "does not need a fourth McDonald's and another McDonald's will further increase the rates of obesity in Tamworth", according to a business paper from the meeting on December 15.
The planning response stated: "Whilst noted, these concerns are not a matter for consideration in accordance with Section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979."
'FATTEST TOWN IN AUSTRALIA'
In January this year, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed Tamworth West had the highest obesity rate in the country at 61.2 per cent.
The rates for the Tamworth region, including the East and North, were between 40.2 and 43.8 per cent. The national average was 31.3 per cent.
"I can fully understand the concerns of the residents and hopefully the conditions will address that," Tamworth councillor Helen Tickle told The Northern Daily Leader.
"Unfortunately we're known as the fattest town in Australia and that's a terrible statistic."
On Facebook, one local said: "Another McDonald's for Fatsville, you have to be kidding."
Another man said: "What you put in your stomach is entirely your choice. Don't stop employment and economic growth and development opportunities."
One local woman added: "Food is not the only thing that affects health. How many bottle shops does Tamworth have? How many smoke shops? Point is it's up to the consumer to make the choices."
The lowest obesity rate of 13.6 per cent covered Gordon, Killara and Pymble on Sydney's upper north shore while Noosa Heads and Noosaville on Queensland's Sunshine Coast took out the lowest regional rate at 21.2 per cent.
"These public health figures disturbingly reveal, yet again, the poorer health outcomes for people in our community who are most disadvantaged," Torrens University's Director of Public Health Information Unit, Professor John Clover, said when the figures were released.
The NSW Government's 2019 Population Projections estimates the number of people in the Tamworth region will increase from 61,000 in 2016 to 68,900 in 2041.
LIST OF 92 CONDITIONS FOR NEW MACCA'S
In addition to fears the obesity rate could grow further, other community concerns included traffic, delivery and car noise affecting neighbouring residences, devaluing local properties, an "unattractive" windowless facade and that "cooking odour impacts will occur 24 hours a day".
The development proposal requested restaurant and drive-through operation of 24 hours, seven days a week - the same as the other three McDonald's outlets in Tamworth.
However, they are all located within commercial land use zones and the new site is in a general residential zone.
"Council staff are not yet convinced the proposed operating hours are acceptable in respect to the zoning and amenity, and therefore to enable the development to proceed it is recommended to restrict the hours of operation," the council said.
Its vote of support is subject to 92 conditions including limiting operating hours from 5am to 11pm for at least six months after opening to assess the "actual noise impact" on nearby residents.
"It is considered the development will have a positive impact upon the wider community by increasing the food and drink options for the community and for the reasons discussed throughout this report," the business paper states.
"The key issues that relate to this application have been addressed by either a redesign or the recommended conditions of consent.
"Therefore, it is considered that approval of the application is not contrary to the public interest, subject to implementation and compliance with the conditions as proposed."
NORTH TAMWORTH OUTLET 'WILL CREATE 220 JOBS'
A spokeswoman for McDonald's Australia said McDonald's Tamworth employs 420 locals in full-time, part-time and casual roles.
"McDonald's North Tamworth is expected to open late 2021 and will provide additional support to the local community through job creation and construction of the site," she said.
"The restaurant will inject over $5 million into the local economy and create approximately 100 jobs during construction. Once operational, the restaurant will create a further 120 jobs for the local community."
The spokeswoman said the fast food chain continues to review the nutritional value of its food and has been "providing choice" for more than 10 years.
"We include kilojoule labelling for all products on our menu boards, website, digital kiosks and MyMacca's app, to allow customers to make informed choices," she said.
Originally published as Australia's fattest town gets fourth Macca's