Burger Off

"Our protest has galvanised a community and many people who would not normally protest have marched and stood in the wind and rain to make a point about community and democracy and the belief to speak out against what we believe is wrong." - Garry Muratore, Communities in Control Conference 2014.

Tecoma is a quiet town in the Dandenong Ranges 40km east of Melbourne.

More than two thousand residents live in the area, which is characterised by its protected parklands and National Parks.

In 2011 McDonald's lodged a planning application for a 24-hour outlet with drive-thru in Tecoma, which elicited a record number of written objections from local residents to the shire council.

The 1,170 objections raised concerns relating to traffic, litter, noise, crime, impact on existing local businesses, schools, parklands, the demolition of the historic Hazel Vale Dairy building and the development not befitting the character of the area.

The Shire Yarra Ranges Council unanimously rejected the proposal, only to have their decision overruled by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, who deemed the overwhelming objections of the local community "irrelevant".

The residents of Tecoma refused to accept the development and launched a remarkable grassroots campaign, which spread across the world, involving thousands of people and hundreds of Gnomes.

Tecoma, "the little town that roared", made itself an international cause.

Spokesperson for the campaign Garry Muratore shared their story at Communities in Control 2014.

Read the transcript of his speech here or watch the video below.

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