PHOTO: McDonald’s. FILE

The eastern suburbs of Auckland are rejoicing as McDonald’s has withdrawn its application to build a new restaurant following community opposition. Residents of Ōrākei expressed concerns, particularly regarding the potential impact on nearby Kāinga Ora developments, condemning fast food outlets as detrimental to social well-being.

Despite this setback, it seems McDonald’s remains determined to integrate itself into the community, much to the dismay of residents who lament the loss of an Anglican church to make way for what they perceive as a symbol of excessive consumption.

McDonald’s proposal for a 24/7 restaurant at the St James site on Kepa Road sparked significant involvement from local politicians and garnered over 2000 signatures on a petition. Concerns ranged from increased traffic congestion on the already busy road to the accessibility of unhealthy food for nearby school children.

Residents feared the degradation of cultural heritage and anticipated disturbances from late-night activities, including potential antisocial behavior associated with fast food outlets. Accusations of corporate greed and strategic positioning next to social housing developments were also levied against McDonald’s.

Despite initial celebrations over McDonald’s withdrawal, the demolition of the St James church has left a void, hinting at ongoing tensions between the community and the fast food giant. While McDonald’s remains optimistic about its plans for the Kepa Road site, local representatives and residents are adamant in their opposition, emphasizing the importance of respecting and preserving the character of their neighborhood.