Kentucky Feud Cookin’: feathers fly over Bulli plan

It’s the northern-suburb restaurant plan that has ruffled a few feathers – on Facebook, at least.

While the concept of a KFC outlet at Bulli might be paltry to some, the potential 24/7 fried chicken offering has caused a stir among residents and fast-food fans. 

Nowhere is the commotion more evident than within the social media community, where many have taken to Facebook to make their finger-licking (or loathing) feelings known.  

In one corner there’s the “No to KFC in Bulli” Facebook page; in the other is the “Yes to KFC in Bulli” page. 

COMING SOON?: Woolworths wants to build a 24/7 KFC restaurant at its shopping precinct on the corner of the Princes Highway and Molloy Street, Bulli. Pictures: Supplied

COMING SOON?: Woolworths wants to build a 24/7 KFC restaurant at its shopping precinct on the corner of the Princes Highway and Molloy Street, Bulli. Pictures: Supplied

“We are a group of locals who don't want a 24/7 KFC in Bulli. Bulli should be a vibrant village for local business and tourism, not a fast food highway,” the ‘about’ details of the opposing Facebook page said.

The supportive page offered a similar description: “We are a group of locals who do want a 24/7 KFC in Bulli. Bulli should be a vibrant village for Chicken”.

The ‘yes’ page, the more-recent of the two, also features hashtags: #istandwithKFCBulli, #sayYEStothechicken and #feelinclucky.

Those against the development said the KFC would “detract from the unique character of the area”, increase street litter, threaten nearby businesses and create “foul” air quality.

The one thing both pages have in common is Woolworths’ plan to open a KFC within its existing Bulli shopping centre complex – on the corner of the Princes Highway and Molloy Street. 

Woolworths has lodged a development application with Wollongong City Council to build the outlet, which would be about 275 square metres in size and seat up to 66 people.

The application, lodged by the company’s in-house corporate property division Fabcot Pty Ltd, is on public exhibition until January 20.

“During this time, we welcome input and feedback that the local residents may have in regards to the proposal which is consistent with the existing zoning of the site,” a Woolworths spokeswoman said.

“The DA is not just for a KFC but also proposes the expansion of the shopping centre car park, adding more than 50 car spaces for the convenience of local customers.

The application also includes an additional car park exit at Molloy Street, she said.

“We will work with council to resolve all outstanding issues at the conclusion of the exhibition period,” she said.

‘The fight has been won in the past’

Campaigners against the KFC outlet at Bulli say the fight to fend off fast-food giants has been run and won in other communities.

Members of the Bulli Village Alliance (BVA), the group behind a “No to KFC in Bulli” page on Facebook, have used the example of a Blue Mountains victory to bolster their efforts. 

A comment on the page told the story of a grassroots group, “Mountains Against McDonald’s”, which won its 1997 battle to keep an outlet out of Katoomba.

Byron Bay famously fought off the golden arches in the 1990s, with councillors also rejecting a KFC planned for the popular tourist spot.

A community protest meeting about the Bulli KFC proposal will be held at the suburb’s senior citizens’ centre at 6pm on Friday.

In a statement, the BVA said residents were also “deeply worried about the interest being shown in Bulli as the site of other mega-franchises such as Aldi and Hungry Jacks”.

The alliance was formed to “advocate for a considered approach to planning that will retain the character and beauty of the area”, it said.