Health concerns raised as residents rally against proposed McDonald’s behind Guildford Hotel

Protests against McDonald's plan to build in Guildford.
Protests against McDonald's plan to build in Guildford.

MORE than 100 residents rallied today against plans to build a McDonald’s behind the historic Guildford Hotel, with calls for planning legislation to take into account the health impact junk food outlets can have on the local community.

Heart Foundation chief executive Maurice Swanson said the proposed McDonald’s was less than 100m from the Guildford Primary School.

“Unfortunately current planning legislation does not include consideration of the health impact that junk food outlets can have on the local community,” he said.

“We know that 25 per cent of WA children are overweight or obese. They don’t need another junk food outlet less than 100m from the school gate.

“The increasing number of junk food outlets means even more pressure is placed on families to eat junk food and comes at a time when parents and children are being bombarded, in every form of media, by junk food advertising and promotion.’

“The Heart Foundation urges the local community to rise up against this tide of junk food availability and promotion and calls for a change to fast food outlet zoning and planning legislation to enable health impacts to be considered.”

Midland MLA Michelle Roberts addressed the rally and said she was 100 per cent behind the community’s opposition to building a McDonald’s in the heart of the town.

“We’re getting picked off one by one here in Guildford,” she said.

“We need the City of Swan to properly recognise the heritage values of Guildford and initiate a planning scheme amendment that prohibits fast food outlets in this precinct.

“If we have a ban on fast food outlets in our local planning scheme then the Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP), who will be deciding on the fate of this proposal, will not be able to approve it and we wouldn’t have to fight off another fast food outlet.”

City of Swan councillor Ian Johnson told the crowd the JDAP process should be abolished.

“Our community is clearly not being properly represented by the JDAP,” he said.

“Planning decisions should be made by local councils and by councillors who are the people our community has elected to represent them.”

Dr Jeni Hood said Guildford did not need a McDonald’s.

“We have a jewel in our crown with the recently restored Guildford Hotel and to cram a McDonald’s behind it is a slap in the face,” she said.

“We all know obesity is a problem and McDonald’s uses advertising to suck kids in and buy their product.

“We don’t need that in Guildford.”

11-year-old Guildford Grammar student Harry agreed and added a McDonald’s in Guildford would make WA’s most fit school fat.

“Guildford Primary School was found to be one of the fittest schools in Australia,” he said.

“We don’t need to encourage people to eat more fast food, we have lots of these places already.”

Submissions on the proposal are due by April 17.