HUNDREDS of people turned up in Tecoma on Sunday with plants and shovels in hand for a protest with a difference.
Locals arranged a community gardening event to speak out against the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal's decision last Wednesday to approve fast-food giant McDonald's application to build a new restaurant in the town.
The previously vacant block of land on Burwood Highway, earmarked for the new McDonald's, was transformed into a community garden, replete with scarecrows, prayer flags and sculptures.
Davey Heller, one of the Facebook organisers of the protest, said the protest was a "raging success" with some protesters remaining at the site until 8pm.
"People really threw themselves into reclaiming that space," he said.
Yarra Ranges Council knocked back McDonald's original application last year, following strong community opposition.
A spokesperson for McDonald's, Skye Oxenham, said that while the company was sensitive to the local community's views, it believed the presence of the restaurant would have a positive impact on the area.
"McDonald's and our local franchisees have a lot to offer, and are proud to contribute to the local community everywhere we operate," she said.
One of the major concerns of those against the store was that traffic would bottleneck on the Burwood Highway. However, McDonald's has denied these claims.
"In this instance, the findings have highlighted that traffic will not be significantly impacted. Current peak periods of traffic in the area do not overlap with peak dining hours at McDonald's," said Ms Oxenham.
Davey Heller said further protest action was planned to stop the restaurant from moving in.
Lyster ward councillor Samantha Dunn said she had asked the council's legal team to see if there was any avenue to challenge the decision.