THE developers behind a proposed Taco Bell outlet on Stewart Street have set the groundwork for an intriguing game of brinkmanship with Bathurst Regional Council.
Reaction to the revelation last November that Taco Bell was planning to open a Bathurst outlet has been overwhelmingly positive, as you would expect from any regional centre given the prospect of welcoming a new multi-national giant to town.
But the one area of genuine concern, particularly among the residents living close to the proposed site on the intersection with Howick Street, is the impact the new outlet could have on traffic, particularly given the congestion we sometimes see at other fast food outlets along the highway. And those concerns must be taken seriously.
What sets the Taco Bell site apart from outlets such as KFC and Red Rooster is that there are no traffic lights at the intersection, while the traffic flow at McDonald's and Hungry Jack's benefits from all traffic being able to go just one way when exiting.
At the Taco Bell site, however, there are no traffic lights and no roundabout - and apparently no plans to install either.
So residents have every right to ask what impact the outlet would have on local traffic, particularly given the difficulty that already exists for traffic trying to turn right from Howick Street onto Stewart Street.
With all that in the background, it was bold of developer Hector Abbott of McDuck Properties to tell last a public forum last week that the proposed site was "the one and only, and preferred, site within Bathurst" for a Taco Bell.
It was a line in the sand, effectively telling council that Bathurst had just one shot - and one shot only - at welcoming Taco Bell to town.
Mr Abbott also made a point of saying he had been advised by council staff that a fast food outlet was permissible on the site.
But that really misses the point.
The fact a fast food outlet is permissible on the site does not mean a fast food outlet is perfect for the site, nor that the site is perfect for a fast food outlet.
Most people in Bathurst would welcome a Taco Bell outlet but the developers should be looking to work with the community, not against it.
Rather than setting an ultimatum, the people behind Taco Bell should acknowledge residents' traffic concerns and work with them on possible solutions - particularly if that's the "one and only" spot it can go.