THE Midland region will soon be home to about 40 fast-food and takeaway outlets all within five kilometres of each other.
Industry giant McDonald’s has started construction of its second store in the area at the corner of Farrall and Morrison roads in Midvale.
The new eatery is less than three kilometres from McDonald’s established Midland store on Lloyd Street and Great Eastern Highway.
A survey of five kilometres along Morrison Road and Great Eastern Highway from Darling Ridge Shopping Centre in Swan View to Midland Junction in Woodbridge turned up about 35 takeaway outlets. This did not include all restaurants that do takeaway, lunch bars or petrol stations.
Heart Foundation WA chief executive Maurice Swanson said such a concentration was “unfortunately a shocking pattern being repeated in suburbs that are less affluent.”
The City of Swan’s approval for the McDonald’s Midvale site also allows for two more fast- food stores and a showroom.
Only one objection was raised over the amount of outlets already in the area when councillors considered the matter last year. However the level of competition was not a valid planning concern.
Last week, a McDonald’s representative said the site was identified as one “where a sustainable restaurant could be established.”
“A number of factors including available real estate, suitable zoning, major thoroughfares, population growth and local demand were considered when earmarking a suitable location for the Midvale restaurant,” the representative said.
“The McDonald’s-owned Midvale restaurant will actively seek sponsorship opportunities with local groups.”
Targeting of low-income suburbs a concern
THE saturation of fatty food outlets in Midland is a deliberate act, according to leading health experts.
Mike Daube, the director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA and Curtin University professor and Maurice Swanson, the Heart Foundation’s chief executive, both said the region was a victim of the global trend of fast food outlets targeting areas with less money and education.
“The world does not need a McDonald’s on every corner,” Mr Daube said.
“There’s a great deal of concern over the way junk food companies target areas, and there’s nothing the government can do about it.”
Mr Swanson said the trend was prompting the Heart Foundation to start a massive campaign to tackle obesity.
“We’re starting out like we did with smoking 30 years ago,” he said.
Mr Swanson said local governments need to be empowered by the State to control the epidemic and reject takeaway applications.
“Maybe there needs to be legislative change,” he said.
Mr Daube also said he would like to see local government have powers to play a stronger role in controlling the amount of fast food in an area.