POLICE are preparing for an eventual stand-off with protesters at the site approved for a McDonald’s restaurant in Tecoma.
Protesters have set up camp at the block despite being given a formal notice of trespass.
Work began on erecting a fence around the perimeter of the controversial block after the developer of the Burwood Highway land, Joel Freeman, issued a trespass notice late yesterday.
Standing next to police, he ordered the protesters to leave. His words fell flat against the chants of ‘‘work with us. Work with us’’ from the crowd.
‘‘You are all trespassing on private property. I’m inviting you all now to leave private property. I don’t invade your blocks. I don’t pitch tents in your front or back yards,’’ he said.
But more than 100 protesters are still gathered on site — and are making no attempt to move.
Tents and tepees have been erected and campfires are burning as the protest continues.
Protesters were divided yesterday about whether they should oppose the fencing of the site, but opted to maintain a peaceful presence.
Tecoma resident Kerry Templeton said the community had no other choice but to come down there and do something.
‘‘We’re trying to ask for Mr Freeman’s support, as well to think twice about what he’s actually doing here,’’ she said.
Sergeant Michael Hall of Belgrave police said a perimeter fence would not be completed tonight.
‘‘We’ll have to come up with some sort of negotiating plan to get these people off,’’ Sergeant Hall said.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last Wednesday approved the fast-food chain’s application to build a 24-hour restaurant on the site.
The local community — which was instrumental in Yarra Ranges Council’s decision to knock back the original application — was quick to voice its dissent again.
Hundreds gathered on Sunday to build a community garden on the vacant block.
The protests have so far been peaceful, with Sergeant Hall stating: ‘‘These are good local people.’’
He added though that the owner of the land has ‘‘his rights as well’’.
‘‘At the end of the day people have got to abide by the judge’s ruling, and so do we and so will they but that eventuality won’t be today - it’ll be another day.’’