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Fast food 'to go'

Debate rages over the future of Noosa Junction as a dining precinct.
Debate rages over the future of Noosa Junction as a dining precinct. Geoff Potter

GREENS state election candidate for Noosa Dr Jim McDonald wants fast food outlets in Noosa Junction to go - and hold the fries.

Dr McDonald has given those who want burger chains to proliferate in the Junction a real serve, saying the CBD is under threat of becoming a "tawdry fast-food hub" which would starve any profits from the local businesses that survived the economic impact of Noosa Civic.

"The recent approval of Hungry Jack's at the Junction is another example of how the Sunshine Coast Regional Council doesn't get Noosa or why its tourists come here," Dr McDonald said.

"The old Noosa Council is not blameless in this, it allowed Kentucky Fried Chicken into the precinct."

He said any further fast-food expansion - such as a McDonald's setting up shop in the Junction - would be "the death knell to any possibility of developing the Junction as a more sophisticated precinct".

"The small restaurants will lose much of whatever backpacker business they have and other retail businesses will find their location abandoned by locals," he said.

"Backpackers and tourists don't come to Noosa because it looks like a main road, outer suburban fast-food zone. They come here because it is different and beautiful.

"There has been talk for years about bringing the Junction back

to life. But landlords appear disinterested.

"The fact that Noosa faces Hungry Jacks next to The J and rumours of a McDonald's in the Junction is testament to the failure of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council as it is structured to meet Noosa's specific needs.

"It has no local focus, which is why we need a local government body that is embedded in the community."

Dr McDonald said this close contact with council and ratepayers was part of the Greens policy on local government.

"One of the legacies of Noosa Council, before it was forcibly amalgamated with councils that didn't have the same concern for balance between development and environment, was The J.

"As compromised as that project was in giving Noosa a cultural centre, the development of its immediate neighbourhood into a fast-food ally will kill off the potential The J has yet to realise.

"If I am elected as the Member for Noosa, I will not only work to establish the wishes of the Noosa community on de-amalgamation, I will actively assist in bringing together the community and other stakeholders, in cooperation with Noosa's Council, for a Junction that is in keeping with the Noosa tradition."

Noosa Junction town centre officer John Waterhouse said there had been talk of McDonald's coming to town and, if so, he believed "that would be a good thing for the Junction".

"Certainly you have to get your mix of businesses right whether you are an industrial estate or a major retail centre," Mr Waterhouse said.

"McDonald's is the sort of business that does its homework carefully and if it is interested in coming to the Junction that is a good sign."

With around 280 businesses in the Junction he believed the mix was fairly good and would not have been harmed by having three fast-food outlets.

And Mr Waterhouse believed the backpacker market could be well-served by such food outlets as part of the mix, though more restaurant-style outlets would be a welcome addition as well.

"I think some people in Noosa get a bit precious about protecting the Noosa look and feel," Mr Waterhouse said.

Topics:  fast food, jim mcdonald, noosa junction


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