A prominent Melbourne barrister is waiting to assist Tecoma residents fighting against a McDonald's restaurant.
Robert Richter QC, who specialises in criminal and human rights law, has pledged his support to a campaign to stop the fast-food chain moving in. "I think it's appalling that they're trying to build a McDonald's in a fabulous rural area," he said.
Yarra Ranges Shire Council last week voted against appealing VCAT's decision to grant McDonald's a permit.
Mr Richter said he hadn't "read any of the papers" but understood there was a team of lawyers looking at them. "Presumably if they find anything I might be able to help them later on," he said.
President of the Tecoma Village Action Group Nicole Gale said she was aware of his generous offer. "It's a big ask for a community group to take on McDonald's," she said.
However, it's understood that at least one lawyer who specialises in planning has advised the group that an appeal would likely be unsuccessful.
An application to appeal must be lodged with the Supreme Court before November 7.
Meanwhile, community resistance to McDonald's continues. Last Friday, locals met at Tecoma Primary School where the call for a peaceful protest was reiterated.
On Sunday, locals arrived at the site of the planned McDonald's to find supporters of the fast food chain had set fire to signs and a tent in a now-famous community garden.
Later, more than 200 people joined local musician Brian Baker in singing a stirring protest song, Ballad for Tecoma, in the garden precinct. Aboriginal elder Murrundindi also gave his blessing to the protest campaign.
Mrs Gale said the vibe at the garden was "fantastic". A video of the performance is expected be uploaded to YouTube and shared in the coming days.
Residents have also written to celebrity chefs Stephanie Alexander and Jamie Oliver to ask for their support. In a letter of reply, Ms Alexander said she was "dismayed" that the community's wishes not to have a McDonald's built had been ignored.
Protest organiser Shakti McLaren said the fires appeared to have been lit by "angry kids" in favour of the restaurant. An administrator of the Yes to Tecoma McDonald's Facebook page has written in support of the attack: "We are pro-anything that upsets you hippies. So burn garden, burn!"
— with The Age
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