Even though, aside from the United States, no other country is home to so many McDonald’s restaurants as France, some locals still prefer traditional French cuisine.
Gregory Gendre, the mayor of Dolus-d’Oleron on the Oleron Island, off western France, has refused to grant permission for McDonald’s to build an eatery in his municipality.
He argues that this was out of step with the “ecological transition” program, which helped him be elected four years ago.
The mayor wants to create a “sustainable food zone” for local youngsters in an area of four hectares to implement the most advanced “healthy food” ideas and defend local produce over American gastronomic imperialism.
French media has already dubbed the “alternative” to McDonald’s “McDolus,” after the town’s name.
But the name is pretty much where the resemblance stops. Organizers are calling McDolus an “open-air laboratory” which holds food workshops and tastings.
In an interview with Sputnik, Gregory Gendre said that the main idea behind McDolus was to show that “food-related projects can be implemented with all industry players to create sustainable economic models.”
He emphasized the importance of having in mind the long-term consequences of the decisions being made today.
“A micro- and macroeconomic analysis, and also the carbon trace of a model like McDonald’s, which is owned by investment funds and which enjoys tax breaks in Luxembourg, shows that such a model unstable,” Gendre said.
“Their main goal is money. If people think this is good, so be it, but I wasn’t elected to let them goldbrick without giving a thought about the place where they operate,” he added.
Meanwhile, the island’s roughly 2,000-strong pro-McDonald’s camp argues the mayor is wrong to give up on the 40 staff jobs and 30 temporary ones the McDonald’s restaurant will bring in.
They also argue that because of the mayor’s refusal to let McDonald’s in, the municipality has to pay 300 euros in fines for each day of delay after the administrative court in Poitiers ruled in September 2017 that the mayor had not right to refuse a construction permission for McDonald’s.
Gregory Gendre said that no ecological analysis had been made to determine how many jobs local caterers will lose if the McDonald’s opens its restaurant on the island.
“Unlike McDolus, they have no desire to develop this territory while local food producers and restaurateurs with annual working schedules and using seasonal produce offer jobs of a different organizational structure.”
The mayor also underscored the importance of the “sustainable food zone.”
“McDolus will offer the local youths a place with Wi-Fi access, a place where they can meet their friends, learn to cook, try quality seasonal food grown on natural soil, not in artificial conditions,” Gregory Gendre emphasized.
McDolus or McDonald’s? Looks like this is the choice the folks on Dolus-d’Oleron will have to make when the court of appeals in Bordeaux takes up the case in July.