Woolworths opinion poll challenge
THE CHALLENGE has gone out to Woolworths over its plans for a supermarket in Mullumbimby – to find out what the people want.
Mullumbimby Forum, which opposes a store in the town, has offered to share the costs of a survey to gauge whether the majority of residents want a Woolies there or not.
“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,” the Forum wrote to the company on Thursday.
The opinion poll challenge came after Woolworths public affairs director, Andrew Hall, said: “We found there was very strong demand [for a supermarket] in that area.”
He claimed that research showed that a ‘silent majority’ in the town supported a store.
“Let’s get them to not be silent,” said Forum secretary Tricia Shantz.
“We invite Woolworths to join us and share the costs of conducting a professional opinion poll of the Mullumbimby community.
“If the community is shown to want the supermarket, we will drop our opposition to it. However, if the majority oppose it, we would expect Woolworths to rethink the reasons why they want to come to this town,” Ms Shantz said.
The retailer has also been asked to explain a statement by Mr Hall that Mullumbimby had been nominated for ‘major growth’ by the NSW Government.
The Forum said its analysis of the Far North Coast Regional Strategy contained no mention of such growth in regard to Mullumbimby.
“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,” the Forum reported.
Woolworths media relations manager Benedict Brook said the company believed people should be able to vote ‘with their feet – which means having a choice to shop at Woolworths’.
“We believe that providing choice locally helps contain expenditure within a town and benefits many local small businesses, including specialty shops,” Mr Brook said.
A Northern Star web survey asking whether Mullumbimby needed a Woolworths had received 506 votes by late afternoon yesterday.
The majority of recipients – 87 per cent – voted ‘no’.
The survey closes on February 28.