Giant Big Mac causes Tamworth Regional Council policy rethink

OUTRAGE: The Big Mac was located near the Waler War Memorial in Bicentennial Park. Photo: Gareth Gardner 260117GGC05
OUTRAGE: The Big Mac was located near the Waler War Memorial in Bicentennial Park. Photo: Gareth Gardner 260117GGC05

NEW rules for businesses hiring public space will be considered by Tamworth Regional councillors at the first meeting of the year on Tuesday night, after community outrage about the giant Big Mac near the Waler War Memorial.

In a mayoral minute Mayor Col Murray has indicated he will request that council develops a detailed policy.

At the time the Big Mac was unveiled Cr Murray said he struggled to understand the outrage it had created.

“It’s also next door to a car park and your social media people aren’t having any problem with that,” Cr Murray said.

However, in his mayoral minute, Cr Murray acknowledged the event “highlighted the need for a more thorough decision-making process around the use of open space that has significant community sentiment attached their history and purpose”.

“The development of a detailed policy will ensure that the community can have confidence that the future use of these open spaces by commercial entities will not detract from their true purpose or cultural significance,” council documents said.

The mayoral minute stipulates that the hiring of community open space is currently controlled through fees and charges as part of Council’s Revenue Policy. It highlights that councillors have no say in the hiring of community spaces, with requests processed by council staff.

The 8-metre tall, 300-kilogram Big Mac was put up in Bicentennial Park on Australia Day, as a monument to Australian farmers. 

However, many in the community saw the giant burger as a marketing tool located too close to the Waler War Memorial. It was due to stay for two weeks, but was removed after six days.

Councillors at Tuesday’s meeting will also consider the sub-division of six lots on Goonoo Goonoo Rd to create 59 residential lots. The proposal is the second stage of the Baringa Gardens Estate development, with most lots from 700 to 800 sq m.

A report recommending a delegation representing council travel to Japan to renew Tamworth’s sister city relationship with Sannohe will also be considered.

If approved, Cr Murray, general manager Paul Bennett, and business and community director John Sommerlad would travel to the city from February 18-26. The cost has been estimated at about $4650 for Cr Murray and Mr Bennett. Mr Sommerlad will be in Japan on other business, so his costs were not included.