Fast-foodbid fuels discontent

Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times

Potential for fast-food drive-through outlets in Dunsborough has the community divided, with some citing the need to accommodate tourists and others fearing the loss of the town’s character.

During a meeting of council candidates last week, Cr Rob Bennett said the population of Dunsborough swelled from 6000 to 50,000 at peak periods and fast-food outlets would be inevitable to cater to the influx of visitors.

He acknowledged it would not be to the liking of all residents but told the Times, while voting on changes to the City’s planning scheme last year, the council had made provisions outside of the CBD in places like the “industrial” Clark Street precinct — rather than the centre of town — to retain a degree of control.

“If we don’t plan for them, then future planning could be taken out of the City's hands, as was the case with Puma,” he said. Councillors last year voted down potential for drive-throughs in the town centre but allowed them to be a “discretionary use” outside of the CBD.

The decision fuels simmering tensions about the need to preserve Dunsborough’s character amid a high-profile stoush over plans for a Puma petrol station in the town’s CBD.

Dunsborough resident Trish Flower, who has been a key player in the campaign against Puma, said she did not support fast-food outlets in or near the town centre.

“I would be really concerned to think the City would consider the Clark Street precinct as outside of the Dunsborough central area,” she said.

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association interim chief executive Steve Harrison said each town in the region had a distinct personality which should be taken into account.

“While fast-food outlets provide a convenient service, the region’s strength as a renowned food region is in providing authentic, high-quality local experiences,” he said.

Dunsborough Yallingup Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Pauline Vukelic pointed to the community’s history of rallying to preserve the “village” atmosphere in the town.

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