The $2.5 million proposal to demolish the Chisholm Tavern to make way for a McDonald’s restaurant, which was submitted to the ACT Planning and Land Authority in June last year and was rejected in February, has been resubmitted.
The grounds for refusal included the proximity of the site to other existing McDonald’s restaurants and the presence of many existing dining options and take-away food shops in the Chisholm Village Shopping Centre. There were also issues with car parking and traffic flow.
However, a new DA, put forward by Chisholm Village Pty Ltd last week, has a number of variations for the ACT Government to reconsider.
Chisholm Village has consulted with the neighbouring Coles Supermarket, which is supportive of the revised proposal. Chisholm Village will also consider relocating the existing Tavern to another location within the shopping centre as part of a separate process. That may involve building a separate dwelling above the existing Anytime Fitness centre and moving the Tavern underneath.
The initial DA attracted more than 120 written submissions and 700 signatures on a petition against the proposal. Two new separate petitions by Member for Brindabella Joy Burch and Chisholm Tavern manager Jennifer Hunt are already attracting a large number of signatures.
Ms Hunt, who has operated the Chisholm Tavern with her husband Graham for more than 29 years, told Region Media the entire Chisholm Shopping Centre is also for sale, and that sale would be far more attractive with a McDonald’s restaurant on site.
Despite the renewed attempt to build a McDonald’s restaurant, Ms Hunt said there is still considerable support for the Tavern.
“All the people I’ve spoken with all want the Tavern here. It’s their meeting spot, and yes, they can meet at the club, but it’s a different atmosphere here and one that isn’t dominated by poker machines.
“We’re going to go hell for leather at another petition to get everyone up and signing it.”
She said they are planning to operate the Tavern for another five years before retiring, but this proposal is an issue facing all taverns and similar premises.
“I see this as the writing on the wall for a lot of taverns in Canberra because of the comparative price of drinking in a tavern to that of having a drink at home.
“It is very much a community-spirited place to meet and people actually come here to have a chat and have conversations with each other,” Ms Hunt said.
The revised proposal for a McDonald’s includes a design that links the restaurant with the shopping centre and enables safe pedestrian access from the existing car park. It also proposes deliveries to be scheduled outside peak hours to avoid conflict with customer traffic.
Member for Brindabella and Chisholm local Joy Burch said she remains supportive of the local businesses at the Chisholm shops, including the Chisholm Tavern.
“After multiple discussions with local vendors and residents in and around the area, it is clear that there remains opposition to this development. Just in the last week, residents continue to raise safety concerns and impact on traffic management in the area,” Ms Burch said.
Ms Burch said the new DA fails to fully address the concerns of the community and will result in a loss of car parking spaces in an already busy car park.
The revised DA states the proposed McDonald’s would require 37 car spaces. There are currently 49 spaces available, a reconfigured car park, providing access to McDonald’s, would result in a reduction of five spaces.