A proposal to build a McDonald’s restaurant on the current Chisholm Tavern site in Tuggeranong remains in limbo.
A petition with more than 700 signatures against the proposal will be presented to the ACT Government and then referred to the relevant ACT Assembly committee for review.
News of the proposal has angered many locals who don’t want to see another fast food outlet in the area.
“There are more than enough of these outlets within only a few minutes. I pray the relevant authorities can take notice of our objection,” said one of the many to comment via social media.
“Beer and good mates are healthier than Maccas,” said another.
Unfortunately, the option to have a combined version, dubbed the McTavern, is also not viable.
The Minister for Planning and Land Management, Mick Gentleman, told the Region Media that Chisholm Village Pty Ltd has submitted a development application to remove the existing tavern and construct a McDonald’s Family Restaurant. This would require purchasing an adjacent publicly owned piece of land (a toilet block).
“They must pay a lodgement fee to progress the application and it would be assessed by the independent Planning and Land Authority through its standard process. This would include a public notification period for the local community to make representations,” said Mr Gentleman.
It is understood that Chisholm Village Pty Ltd has not paid the lodgement fee.
The proponent would then pay market value for the publicly owned land based on the highest of three independent valuations.
There are also concerns about the adjoining BP Service Station at Chisholm, where a major fuel leak in January 2007 resulted in the loss of around 65,000 litres of unleaded fuel into the surrounding environment.
A spokesperson for the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate confirmed the Environment Protection Authority is still regularly removing fuel from the site to prevent further contamination.
Member for Brindabella and Chisholm local Joy Burch MLA has canvassed the views of residents about the proposal.
“The majority of comments from residents are not in favour of more major fast-food chain outlets,” Ms Burch said. “Most would like to see more alternatives offered in any future development and upgrades to existing facilities, including the play area and a family-friendly tavern.”
Ms Burch said when she was approached to sponsor the petition, she immediately saw the value in listening to the voices of the business owners and the local community.
“The loss of any of the businesses as a result of any proposed development is not at all desirable,” she said. “The petition recognises the local community’s interest in any future development at the Chisholm village and that the community wants to have a say in what that looks like.”
Chisholm Tavern manager Jennifer Hunt has operated the business for 28 years and said the petition and comments heartened her resolve to stay.
“We offer a venue that supports the local community, doesn’t have gambling and regularly has live music, and people come here for that,” she said.
Many local bands played their first gigs at the Chisholm Tavern, and the potential redevelopment of the site follows the closure of the Valley Tavern in Wanniassa in February.
“The Chisholm Tavern is one of the few remaining live music venues on the southside and needs to be looked after,” said a local musician on social media.
Chisholm Tavern regulars Leah and Glenn also voiced their concerns about the proposal.
“We really need to keep places like this going,” said Leah. “It’s not fair on small businesses and we definitely won’t be leaving without making ourselves heard.”