McDonald's at Fairlight Given The Bun's Rush

by Amanda Phelan
The following appeared in Sydney Australia's leading daily newspaper on Oct 23, 1995. The paper is the "Sydney Morning Herald". Fairlight is a suburb near the popular northern Sydney beach of Manly.

It's the suburb that killed McDonald's. The mighty golden arches have fallen in Fairlight, after a campaign by local residents.

"I'd love to say we had a really organized ideological protest." said one local resident, solicitor for Mr. Peter Ashton.

"But I think we did it more through apathy. People round here just don't seem to like junk food."

Somewhere in the world a McDonald's opens every 17 hours. Fairlight was the fourth to open in Australia, in 1972. Since then 498 others, an average of more than 20 in a year, have put up their shingle in the seemingly unstoppable McDonaldization of Australia. Until Farlight.

A company spokesman said it was extremely rare for an outlet to shut down. "We were disappointed to have to make the decision to close." he said.

The company's normal practice is to close and move. The Yagoona store, the first opened, was closed earlier this year, but it was swiftly relocated, and it was almost unheard of for an Australian McDonald's store to be closed without being relocated nearby.

Fairlight's end was sealed when in response to resident protests, Manly Council refused the company permission to build a late night drive-though for the restaurant. "Residents protested, and without the drive-through it just wasn't a viable operation," the McDonald's spokesman said."So far we haven't found a better location in the area, but we're still looking."

Meanwhile, residents are celebrating their victory. "This area is rather peculiar" said the residents' spokeswoman, Ms. Maureen Young. "It's one of the last bastions--we believe in all the principles that were around before the war, like the Queen and the flag. We're an old fashioned lot."

The deputy mayor of Manly, Dr Peter Macdonald, said permission for the drive through had been refused on environmental and social grounds following the resident's protest. "They didn't seem to do much business anyway," he said.

Now residents are preparing for another fight over the McDonald's site, and have vowed to oppose plans to build a block of units on the land.

"We're the nucleus of the fighters," said Ms Young. "We're not scared to stand up to developers or hamburger chains. I think it's because a lot of us have Irish Stock, so we're a feisty lot. We're willing to stand up and say what's right.

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