TVAG was the driving force behind the campaign to keep McDonald’s out of the Dandenong Ranges during the Council and VCAT phases. The public outrage after VCAT approved this inappropriate development turned the campaign into a wide spread grassroots movement; a movement way bigger than our little community group. While TVAG members and the community are as involved as ever in fighting for our rights, you will find further updates for this campaign after the VCAT decision either at or on Facebook.

This page gives you a history of the McDonald’s campaign up to the unanimous decision by the Shire of Yarra Ranges Council to reject the proposal.

For information about the campaign in the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) click here.

For information about the campaign Post-VCAT click here.

For information from the campaign after the destruction of existing buildings click here.

Quick Links:

                        Objections to Council

                        TVAG Opposes McDonald’s

                        Public Meeting a Great Success

                        Reality Versus Myth - Litter

                        Reality Versus Myth - Income

                        Reality Versus Myth - Employment

                        What’s Happening in June

                        Channel 10 News

                        Mountain District Radio 3MDR Support

                        McDonald’s Lodges Planning Application

                        Movie Night Success

                        Rallying Against McDonald’s

                        Public Notified of McDonald’s Application

                        Basic Guidelines

                        Updated Basic Guidelines

                        Update from Information Evening

                        Public Meeting Update

                        Film Night

                        Fundraising Concert

                        Council to Consider McD’s Application

                        Show your Concern

                        Continue Improving your Objection

                        Councillor Contact Details

                        Shire Planning Department Decision

                        Shire Council Decision

                        Savour the Moment

                        “The Letter”

                        In the News

                        What Next

In March 2011 McDonald’s had a meeting with the Shire of Yarra Ranges. At this meeting McDonald’s presented plans for a proposed McDonald’s in Tecoma on the site today occupied by Hippie Haven and Saffron Cottage. Councillor Samantha Dunn suggested that they contact several community groups to gauge the community’s response to this proposal.

TVAG then met with McDonald’s. On McDonald’s request this meeting was limited to the TVAG committee only.

McDonald’s gave an extensive company strategy overview and presented a floor plan of the proposed restaurant, a site plan and several artist’s impressions. Unfortunately McDonald’s was not happy to provide us with these or at least one to put on our webpage for community information.


Therefore here is a verbal description of the plans:

Site:1529-1531 Burwood Hwy, stretching from Burwood Hwy back to the fences of the residential homes. Part of this site is currently occupied by Hippie Haven and Saffron Cottage

Size:Proposed inside seating: 56, outside seating: 28
The actual building will occupy the Burwood Hwy frontage, with the main part of the site being occupied by car parking and a drive through.

Operating hours:“Ideally” 24 hours, 7 days a week according to McDonald’s representative.

Trading:On average 60% of McDonald’s business will be drive through and 40% sit in. Their busiest time is Fridays 7pm to 8pm with an expected 100 cars/hour through the drive-through, plus sit-in customers.

Design:Modern design, with a deck for outside eating including a play ground on the east side of the restaurant. There is a small deck in the back as well.
The building will be two storeys high in the back, with the drive through underneath the restaurant.

                The appearance from the front will be more like 1.5 storeys as there is a fairly high parapet to hide plant and equipment.

Traffic Flow:     Access via Burwood Hwy and Sandells Rd

Ownership:    McDonald’s has the land under contract, subject to gaining permission to build and getting a right of way to connect a thoroughfare from the premises to Sandells Road, across the rear of the current vacant block and through DVD Destination’s car park.

We would like to know your opinion of this proposal. Would this be a good thing for Tecoma and bring more business to the area or would it be a bad thing and cause even more traffic congestion at this narrow point on Burwood Highway? How will such a development impact upon you and any groups within the area?

TVAG wishes your input via our Contact Us page or the forum set up for this discussion at

Please note: An application has not yet been lodged with the Shire of Yarra Ranges council.

We will update this page as new information is forthcoming. So stay tuned!

At a TVAG Committee meeting on Wednesday April 13th 2011 it was proposed and passed that TVAG opposes any proposal to development a McDonald’s restaurant in the Dandenong Ranges, particularly Tecoma.

Surveys of the community taken at the Upwey Grassroots Market, TVAG’s Forums, emails, letters and by the Free Press Leader newspaper have all overwhelmingly resulted in opposition to a McDonald’s development.

TVAG Opposes McDonald’s

Example Reason: Litter

Belgrave is 8.8 kms from the nearest McDonald’s Takeaway store in Ferntree Gully yet their litter can already be found here and elsewhere in the Dandenong Ranges. Imagine what it would be like if there was a McDonald’s Takeaway in Tecoma. One company’s marketing is another community’s litter.

For more information

Reality versus Myth - Litter

To quote one Tecoma Trader on 28th April:

Had to laugh this morning (sorry) at the mcdonalds rubbish out the front of our shops! If we did have mcdonalds in tecoma they would actually clean up this rubbish themselves. Hmmmm

And a McDonald’s Spokesman in the Ferntree Gully-Belgrave Mail on 3rd May:

“McDonald's has a Clean Streets Program to tackle litter, Mr Christianson said.”

So much for the Myth, click this link for the reality: THE REALITY

Reality versus Myth - McDonald’s brings income to the region

A McDonald’s Spokesman in the Ferntree Gully-Belgrave Mail on 3rd May:

“The restaurant would bring $1 million to the region each year, according to Mr Christianson.”

So much for the Myth, click this link for the reality: THE REALITY

Public Meeting a great Success !!

“No McDonald’s in the Dandenong Ranges”

The public meeting held last Friday evening, 6th May, at the Tecoma Primary School was a great success with over 250 concerned Dandenong Ranges’ residents and workers attending.

The meeting was addressed by Cr Samantha Dunn who explained the processes involved in lodging submissions and provided some information as to what is important to ensure that correct processes are undertaken.

Those attending also heard from Ian Stevenson and Kerry Davis who lead a successful opposition against the establishment of a McDonald’s Take-away in Knoxfield.

TVAG’s Secretary read a letter from local State MP, James Merlino, who concurs with the opposition to McDonald’s in the Dandenong Ranges. James offered his assistance to residents and encouraged everyone in the fight. His words were interrupted by ovation on more than one occasion.

Four sub-groups were formed to prepare the campaign and to to assist everyone with their personal objections to the Shire of Yarra Ranges Council, or VCAT if necessary.

Many thanks to the hundreds who gave up an hour of their time on a chilly Friday evening to show their support.

Get informed, Get involved

Reality versus Myth - McDonald’s brings employment to the region

A McDonald’s Spokesman in the Ferntree Gully-Belgrave Mail on 3rd May:

“Mr Christianson said any employees at the site's current businesses would be welcome to apply for a job at McDonald's, which would create up to 120 jobs..”

So much for the Myth, click this link for the reality: THE REALITY

What’s Happening ?

“No McDonald’s in the Dandenong Ranges”

TVAG has 3 active sub-groups with over 50 people working on defeating any application by McDonald’s for a fast food outlet in the Dandenong Ranges. People are raising funds for a professional traffic survey, creating a publicity campaign and researching facts that can be used to defeat McDonald’s application to the Shire of Yarra Ranges Council.

What can you do? Join one of these groups by contacting us and/or write letters to your local and metropolitan newspapers to express your opposition to McDonald’s in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. Write a letter to McDonald’s voicing your opposition and tell them that you will take your custom elsewhere should they ever despoil the Hills with their golden arches.

Also, WATCH THIS SPACE!. When McDonald’s lodges a development application with Council we will inform the community. That will be the time to put pen to paper and write a personal objection to Council.

Get informed, Get involved

Looking to make an objection to Council?


McDonald’s Lodges Planning Application

McDonald’s has lodged an application with the Shire of Yarra Ranges to build their first fast food outlet in the Dandenong Ranges, at Tecoma.

The Shire’s responsible planning Officer is Moulisa Sahai and the reference number that you need to quote on any correspondence is YR-2011/647.

Now is the time to start writing your objection to this development. Refer here for more information on lodging an objection. We also have ideas for supporting evidence to aid your application.

Get informed, Get involved

Channel10 News

What a fabulous community the Hills Community is, and so passionate about our lifestyle. With only 2 hours warning, over 100 people gathered in Tecoma to voice their opposition to McDonald’s plans to infiltrate the Dandenong Ranges.

Channel 10 News was there to capture the public protest and spread the word to the whole of Melbourne that we are a concerned community.

You will note that the McDonald’s representative talks about jobs for Tecoma locals. But the reality will probably be something else.

More pictures of the event are available here, with thanks to Glenn Stephenson.

Get informed, Get involved

3MDR - Mountain District Radio

Support for the Hills Community’s campaign against McDonald’s is also coming from our local media. Turn up your speakers and click on the logo at right.

Tune into 3MDR 97.1FM to keep abreast of what is happening in our Community.

Get informed, Get involved

Movie Night Success

TVAG conducted a fund-raising movie night to help raise funds for the fight against McDonald’s in the Dandenongs. Many thanks to all of you who supported this event and greatly helped prepare the coffers for the fight ahead. Much appreciated! Our thanks also go to George and Magpie House for providing the film and the venue.

“Diet for All Reasons”

Saturday 30th July 8:00pm

Magpie HouseCinema

48 Main St, Upwey

Melway Ref: 75 A8

Movie Entry: $10

Meals were available at Magpie Cafe which was open until 7.30 pm. Meal Bookings essential -- 9754-2124       BYO

Rallying against McDonald’s

The announcement that McDonald's intends to establish a fast food outlet in Tecoma has raised a lot of opposition within the Hills Community. The Tecoma Village Action Group (TVAG), after consultation with the Community, decided to oppose the McDonald's proposal for many reasons. But, TVAG does not have exclusive rights to any opposition and thus there are other groups of individuals who are also conducting their own campaigns. It should be noted that TVAG decided not to be involved with the placing of placards on power poles or the unlawful erection of banners. TVAG has been conducting a graffiti clean up campaign and recently spent thousands of dollars in cleaning up Tecoma businesses and streets, including the power poles. As part of the graffiti clean up campaign, TVAG has been having discussions with SPAusNet and the Shire of Yarra Ranges and does not want this relationship to be damaged through the action of others.

Get informed, Get involved

Public formally Notified of McDonald’s Application

The Shire of Yarra Ranges has posted notices on the proposed site for McDonald's in Tecoma indicating that they have received the application details from McDonald's and the final stages of the battle have begun. The application documentation provided by McDonald's is now available for viewing at Shire Offices including the Link office in Upwey. People are encouraged to view this documentation and realise the impact that this development will have on the Hills.

McDonald's plan to operate 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, thus there will be no respite from the the noise or smells emanating from this establishment. Each night will be lit up by their advertising signs and car park lighting, no more walking through a Hills village and looking at the stars above the surrounding hills.

Get informed, Get involved

These few pages have been established to help you make your submission to the Shire of Yarra Ranges Council. You can download a Summary sheet (left) that will give you guidelines on making a submission. It will also help if you send a copy of your submission to your own local Councillor. This can be done via email if you wish.

Below is further information taken from the Shire’s website and an introduction to the planning scheme under which submissions will be assessed and this link to even more information to help strengthen your submission.

The Application Number is “YR-2011/647”

The address of the land is “1529 Burwood Hwy, Tecoma 3160”

Application Description is “Convenience restaurant”

Basic Guidelines

Update from Information Evening

The Shire of Yarra Ranges hosted a drop-in information evening at the Monbulk Hub on Thursday 8th September from 5pm to 7pm. Planners, urban designers and traffic engineers from both the Yarra Ranges Council and McDonald’s were there to provide information on the application. Councillor Samantha Dunn was also there to listen to community concerns.

The Planners are working to bring the application to Council on Tuesday 27th September but more time than expected is needed by Councillors to read the planners’ recommendations. Thus the planners’ report will be completed some time in the week of Monday 12th. Later submissions, up until Council’s decision may not have any impact upon Council but will still register you as a party to the dispute and thus you will be informed should the matter go to VCAT. Submit NOW!

Get informed, Get involved

These few pages have been established to help you make your submission to the Shire of Yarra Ranges Council. You can download a objection_kit2.pdf sheet (left) that will give you guidelines on making a submission. It will also help if you send a copy of your submission to your own local Councillor. This can be done via email if you wish.

Below is further information taken from the Shire’s website and an introduction to the planning scheme under which submissions will be assessed and this link to even more information to help strengthen your submission.

The Application Number is “YR-2011/647”

The address of the land is “1529 Burwood Hwy, Tecoma 3160”

Application Description is “Convenience restaurant”

Updated Basic Guidelines

Public Meeting Update

TVAG called another Public Meeting to provide advice to residents and Hills visitors on how to best focus their objections, and to show community unity in our objection to this inappropriate development proposal.

A determined group of well over 150 people listened to James Merlino, MLA; Councillor Samantha Dunn and Claire and David from TVAG for more advice on focussing objections at this time to maximise the impact of our opposition to McDonald’s in the Hills.

Check out the video ------------------------------------->

Public Meeting was held:

                Sunday September 11th

                3:00pm - 4:30pm

                Tecoma Primary School

Film Night - 16th September

You were invited to show your support for the campaign to stop the expansion of McDonald’s into the Dandenong Ranges by joining us to watch “Supersize Me”.

Magpie House

Main Street, Upwey

Friday 16th September 2011

7:30pm for an 8:00pm rolling of the film

$10 Entry

This film was part of a great evening’s entertainment. If you wanted to know what else was happening, then please follow this link to Magpie House

Fund Raising Concert

McDonald’s have lodged their reports on traffic, lighting, exhaust fumes and other reports that need professional countermanding and thus TVAG conducted a star - studded fundraising concert. Put the date in your diary.


                Saturday October 1st

                7:30 pm

                Burrinja Cafe


                Coen Dixon


                Penelope Swales

                Tracey Roberts

                Phil Smith

                Trio - Michelle Chandler, Stax, Zoltan Almady



                $15 at the door

TVAG acknowledges the generous donation and assistance of Ferntree Print with our concert printing. Thanks Bernard!

TVAG also gives a BIG THANK YOU to the artists who supported this fundraiser. Please support them by visiting their websites and buying their CDs.

Continue Improving your objection

The State and Local Planning Policy Frameworks under which a development is accessed is a 917 page complicated document. We have attempted to provide you with some additional information of a more technical nature here so as to improve your objection.

We have also made available the basic text of the TVAG Objection.pdf to assist you. If you want the entire document (20MB), get it here: TVAG_Objection.pdf.

At the public meeting at Tecoma Primary School on Sunday 11th September, our local traffic management engineer, Claire, presented some very valid points relating to traffic impacts. A summary of her presentation is available here: TVAG - Traffic Areas of Concern.pdf.

If you have already sent in your objection you can still send in additional information on how this development will affect you, or you could help another family member with their objection. Please send a copy of your objection to the Planning Officer & each Councillor. See below!


Objections must come from a “legal entity” and this must be confirmable. An email address is unfortunately not acceptable as a means of identification. PLEASE ensure your objection includes your full name and your postal address

Emails have gone out from Council to many people who emailed their objection because some people haven’t provided a valid postal address. The wording of this email may confuse some people and have you think that your objection was not accepted. This does NOT mean that your objection is invalid!

If you received an email from Council, please resend your objection (or update it and resend) ensuring that you have included your full name and address. This will also ensure that you will receive any future correspondence via the post.

Councillor Contact Details

Please send a copy of your submission to each of the 9 Councillors in the Shire of Yarra Ranges. These are the people who will ultimately make the decision about the McDonald’s development and therefore each and every one of them needs to know what you think and feel.

Councillor Terry Avery  

Councillor Noel Cliff      

Councillor Tim Heenan                       P.O.Box 105

Councillor Chris Templer     or             Lilydale

Councillor Jeanette McRae                         Victoria, 3140

Councillor Richard Higgins

Councillor Graham Warren

Councillor Len Cox      

Councillor Samantha Dunn

The Shire of Yarra Ranges Council is now set to consider the planning application of McDonald’s to build their first outlet in the Dandenong Ranges at 7:45 pm on October 11th, 2011. Due to the expected number of objectors, Council has decided to move the meeting to “York on Lilydale”, corner York & Swansea Roads Mt Evelyn, a venue which will be able to accommodate the expected numbers.

Council to Consider McD’s Application

It is extremely important that everyone comes along to the Council Meeting on October 11th (see above) in order to show your objection to the McDonald’s application. McDonald’s have been conducting a “phoney survey” and are likely to use their biased results to show Tecoma actually wants them here. Come, bring a friend, and show Council that the whole Dandenong Ranges are against this development.

Show your concern

Shire Planning Department Decision

The Shire’s Planning Department have presented their decision to Councillors and have disappointingly recommended that Council APPROVE the application by McDonald’s to build an outlet in Tecoma.

You can read the planning departments submission here:

It is now even more important that you and all of your friends attend the Council meeting on Tuesday 11th October at 7:45pm at “York on Lilydale” (see below).

Also call your local Councillor and tell her/him that the Shire’s Planning Department response is inadequate and has not checked the data presented by McDonald’s, but blindly accepted it. For just one of many examples, McDonald’s stated that the public accessible floor area is only 100 square metres and therefore only 4 staff bicycle parking spots are needed. But anyone with a primary school ruler can measure the plans and see that the area is over 200 square metres. This means 8 spots are required AND provision MUST be made for shower and changing facilities.

Thus the Planning Department is supporting McDonald’s policy of handling and serving food by sweaty kids without the provision of showering or changing facilities.

Shire Council Decision

The Shire Councillors are to be congratulated upon making a unanimous decision in refusing to grant the planning application by McDonald’s to build in Tecoma.

In front of a record crowd of over 600 people, the Shire of Yarra Ranges Council this evening voted unanimously to NOT grant a permit to McDonald's. This was in light of over 1100 individual objections being received by Council (the most ever received on any planning issue) and 8 letters in support for the development. The people and Council have spoken, we certainly hope that McDonald's have listened and decide not to waste their time and resources, and that of the Community's, in taking this issue any further to VCAT. As a responsible corporate citizen who puts the wishes of their customers and the public ahead of dollars, this should be the end of the issue.


The “Letter”

At the Council meeting on Tuesday 11th October, Councillor McRae read a passage from a letter that Councillors received from McDonald’s just prior to their consideration of the application. Councillor McRae questioned the McDonald’s representative about this letter, available here.

Many Councillors saw this letter as a threat, particularly dot point 4. Councillor McRae ‘threw the ball back into McDonald’s court’, suggesting that they would be better able to help the community by not going to VCAT and donating those funds to community projects.

Dot point 5 is also considered a threat to our community.

There is a rumour that McDonald’s placed an application for consideration to VCAT before Council even had an opportunity to consider the matter. Again, showing total disrespect for our democratic processes. If anyone has VCAT contacts to confirm this, please let us know.

TVAG believes that Council has made the correct decision based solely upon planning issues raised by objectors to the application and is 100% confident that VCAT will, as they have done previously, find again that developments that do not fit the criteria for our Neighbourhood Activity Centre will be refused.

If you consider the above letter to be disrespectful of our democratic process and an insult to our community, then please write to McDonald’s and let them know your opinion. Remind them that disrespectful businesses do NOT receive your custom, not here nor anywhere else.

Contact newspapers, radio stations and other media and tell them of your disapproval. Use media Facebook pages, letters to the editor, etc.

What Next ?

There is a small window of opportunity to encourage McDonalds to not proceed with this application.  We ask you to write a letter to the CEO of McDonalds within the next week, and CC to Ferntree Gully McDonalds (the potential franchisee of Tecoma McDonalds).  Address and email details:


Ms Catriona Noble

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

McDonald’s Australia

Head Office

21-29 Central Avenue




CC to:

Mr. Howard Armitage

Caracal Investments Pty Ltd

Ferntree Gully McDonald’s

740 Burwood Highway





Below are some suggested dot points you may wish to include in your email/letter.  Please add any other points you wish. By using your own words, the readers are more likely to read each response. Please be polite.


  1. The people of Tecoma and the Dandenong Ranges have spoken.


  1. We have presented clear arguments that the proposal does not meet the Shire of Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme. Council unanimously refused the application.


  1. This application has already caused damage to your corporate reputation.


  1. I was very disappointed with the letter sent by McDonalds to the council and tabled at the council meeting. This letter has done significant damage to your corporate image. I suggest that this does not reflect well on your organisational culture.   


  1. If McDonald’s continue to pursue with the Tecoma and Dandenong Ranges application there will be further damage to your brand.


  1. I am an existing McDonald’s customer and buy McDonalds at various stores including Ferntree Gully and Boronia.  If you proceed with this application I can assure you that I will not go to another McDonalds store.  I shall also encourage my friends and relatives to follow in my steps.


  1. We are a determined, passionate community and we will continue to campaign against this application for as long as it takes.


  1. We encourage you to not proceed further with this application and respect the wishes of our community.




McDonalds may decide to lodge an appeal to VCAT against the Council decision.  If they do this, every objector can register to be part of the VCAT hearing.  This does not obligate you to attend or present but will be another demonstration of community opposition to this application.  More details will follow.

In the News

The issue of McDonald’s in Tecoma has been in the news a lot lately, with an article in the Sunday Herald-Sun of 9th October 2011, two radio interviews on  Melbourne Talk Back Radio 3MTR,  and our local newspapers.

This issue is not going to go away until McDonald’s withdraws from the Dandenong Ranges.

Savour the moment - courtesy of OUR local radio station 3MDR