Dominos grabs a slice of Byron

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL

INTERNATIONAL pizza chain Domino's has secured a slice of paradise in anti-franchise capital Byron Bay.

The community successfully fought off the threat of fast food giant McDonald's in the 1990s and has since built a reputation for being fiercely protective of the town's individuality.

Byron Shire mayor, Jan Barham, said if the decision was up to her, Domino's would not be allowed in the town.

"I think we have a very high quality pizza market in town already and I'd like to see Byron Bay remain unique," she said. "But, under planning laws, we can't stop any business coming in unless there are planning issues. It was perfectly legitimate for Domino's to take advantage of this business opportunity."

Franchisee, John De Nardi, who already owns Domino's in Lismore and Ballina, said his latest business would open in the former Humble Pie shop in Jonson Street by the end of the month.

Because Mr De Nardi was taking over the lease of another restaurant and not making significant changes to the building, he was not required to lodge a full development application with the council.

Council planning director Ray Darney said it was a simple case of changing the use of the building from one type of restaurant to another. "We judge these small applications on their merit," he said.

Cr Barham said the only reason franchises such as McDonald's had not tried to open in Byron Bay was because of the potential backlash from the community. "We've never had a DA from McDonald's but there was a rumour they were coming to Jonson Street a few years ago," she said. "The story got to the media and there were protests and it didn't happen ? it's all about community pressure because there's nothing council can do."

Byron Business Group spokesman, Barry Wallace, said Domino's would be cautiously welcomed."It all comes down to how they behave as corporate neighbours, we already have some franchises in Byron Bay and the majority of those are very supportive," he said.

"Privately some of us do have trepidations about Byron Bay becoming a replica of other towns."

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