Council approves McDonalds rezoning application
Gosford Council has approved a rezoning application which paves the way for a McDonalds fast food store to be built in Umina.
The council has resolved to support the planning proposal to rezone 430-438 Ocean Beach Rd, Umina, from residential to general business.
Despite strong objection from the gallery at its meeting of Tuesday, November 13, Council decided to forward the planning proposal to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure and to request that a Local Environmental Plan be made.
A development application for the store is still required and this is expected to be considered by the Council in March next year.
Cr Peter Freewater spoke against the rezoning application and claimed it should be refused due to "overwhelming public concern".
"This is something the community doesn't want and we don't have to do this now.
"We should refuse it simply because we support our local community and we understand their desires and their needs.
"At the end of the day, we're here to serve the community and, when the overwhelming bulk of the community is saying no, it's our obligation to do as we were elected to do and represent the people we were elected to represent," said Cr Freewater.
Cr Terri Latella backed up her fellow Greens councillor and said she thought it was "very important that we listen to the in excess of 1500 people that are against the proposal".
"I think the line has to be drawn now and we draw it based on community opposition," she said.
Community representative Mr John Bruning spoke at the meeting and said the community had collected over 2200 objection signatures in four weeks.
"The local community is not against development but we have issues with this," he said.
"You cannot simply draw a line on a map and say one side is residential and one side is commercial.
"The local community will fight every single commercial development across the road from residential.
"It is just inappropriate.
"I collected 200 signatures myself and 80 per cent of the people I spoke to happily signed the petition.
"Fifteen per cent were indifferent and five per cent were for the change," said Mr Bruning.
"While the decision was not what we wanted, we were heartened by a number of councillors raising serious concerns about McDonalds development application, especially in relation to traffic, parking, litter and noise, and the wider community concern of obesity.
"We must thank councillors Freewater and Latella for supporting us and the local community, and we are optimistic that when the McDonald's development application comes up for discussion by Council in February or March 2012 that more councillors will represent our best interests and send McDonald's away.
"Umina is a beachside community and we have fantastic local businesses that have supported us for years, and we now need to support them against a real threat that will drive many of them out of business.
"McDonald's just doesn't fit with our beachside lifestyle and community values," he said.
Cr Craig Doyle said that despite "some fairly passionate points of view put forward" regarding the opposition to a Umina McDonalds, the councillors were there to discuss the planning proposal and not a McDonalds development application.
He said he has seen "Umina blossom in the last few years with new applications and it's starting to attract some major players".