Small town says no to Woolworths

Published on Thu, 18/02/2010, 03:49:49

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Retail chain Woolworths is being challenged to an 'opinion poll tie breaker' by Mullumbimby, the small town on the NSW Far North Coast which is fighting plans for a new big-box supermarket.

After taking its ‘no’ campaign to the Woolworths top brass earlier this week, the Mullumbimby forum is rejecting claims by a Woolworths spokeswoman that a ‘silent majority’ in the town supports a store.

"Given Woolworths stated commitment to communities, we invite Woolworths to join us and share the costs of conducting a professional opinion poll of the Mullumbimby community," said the forum in a statement.

"We propose that if a majority of the community supports the Woolworths store we will cease our campaign of opposition, but if a majority is opposed then Woolworths will drop its store plan."

Woolworths is also being asked to explain a statement by its director of corporate and public affairs, Andrew Hall, that Mullumbimby has been nominated for ‘major growth’ by the NSW Government - a claim at odds with the region’s official development masterplan.

However, the forum found there is no mention of ‘major growth’ in regard to Mullumbimby, and planning maps in the regional strategy don’t show any ‘proposed future urban release areas’ for the town.

Also, of the 51,000 additional new dwellings forecast to be required by 2031 across six local government areas on the Far North Coast, only 2600 have been allocated to the Byron Shire. This is only 19.86 per cent growth over 25 years for Byron, of which Mullumbimby is just a small part, compared to an average of 53.73 per cent for the region.


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