Mullumbimby Community Action Group members (rear, from left) Alok OBrien, Paul Medeiros, John Dolman, Anthea Amore and Garry S
Mullumbimby Community Action Group members (rear, from left) Alok OBrien, Paul Medeiros, John Dolman, Anthea Amore and Garry S

Maleny joins battle against Mullum Woolies

By RACHEL AFFLICK rachel.afflick@northernstar.com.au A WOMAN who fought Maleny’s controversial Woolworths development says Mullumbimby should brace itself for a similar campaign.

Mullumbimby company Mallam Group recently sold its business to Woolworths, which plans to build a new supermarket in the town.

Katrina Shields said the situation reminded her of Maleny, where a Woolworths supermarket went ahead against enormous protests from the community.

Ms Shields lived in Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, during 2003-04 and took part in the campaign against Woolworths.

Five months ago she moved to Mullumbimby, only to find it was happening all over again.

“We could be the next Maleny. We are a similar-sized town, with not a dissimilar demographic. I believe there’s a lot of the same commitment in Mullumbimby to live a greener, more sustainable life,” Ms Shields said.

She is one of 10 residents who this week formed a steering committee to tackle to issue.

The committee will gather information on the Woolworths development and is holding a series of public meetings to gauge residents’ thoughts on the supermarket plans. The next one will be held this Saturday at 10am in the Pioneer Hall in Mullumbimby.

The first public meeting, held on Australia Day, attracted 75 people.

Organiser Deborah Lilly said the level of interest in the development had taken her by surprise.

“I thought there wouldn’t be many people on Australia Day, but I spent 15 minutes looking for chairs,” she said. “We had people in corridors with standing room only.”

Ms Lilly said while the momentum of the meeting was against Woolworths, people were keeping an open mind and exploring the facts.

She remains very worried Woolworths’ plan for Mullumbimby could ruin the individuality of the town.

Ms Lilly moved to Mullumbimby 24 years ago, but she grew up in a country town in England that became ‘inundated’ with retail chains and supermarkets.

“It was like here. The local grocers used to deliver your order, you greeted people on the street. When the big supermarkets came in it was ruined,” Ms Lilly said.



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