Mullumbimby Forum, a group opposed to the establishment of a Woolworths supermarket in Mullumbimby, is challenging the retail giant to conduct a valid poll of residents in the town.
“We are challenging Woolworths directors to go halves on a survey on how many people want the supermarket and how many don’t,” Trisha Shantz, spokesperson for Mullumbimby Forum, said.
Ms Shantz said that both sides should agree to abide by the outcome of the survey, which should involve all the residents of Mullumbimby.
“If you are a believer in democracy,” she said, “then surely that should stand.”
A poll conducted by The Northern Star on September 29 last year showed that 87 per cent of people were opposed to Woolworths coming to Mullumbimby.
A new poll currently running (and anyone attempting to vote again is blocked from doing so) shows similar figures.
These figures would seem to contradict the statement recently put out by Woolworths’ community manager, Claire Buchanan, that ‘the company has done its homework and is confident of success in the town’.
“We know there is strong support in the town, albeit a silent majority,” she said.
This statement was released in response to a half-page advertisement that Mullumbimby Forum placed in the Australian Financial Review last week, titled ‘Is it right that a big corporation can tell a small town what it needs?’.
The Forum originally set out with the premise that the majority did not want a Woolworths supermarket in Mullumbimby, and decided to test that premise with a small, valid telephone poll.
The results of that poll showed a clear majority ‘no’ to Woolworths.
The group then embarked on an education program to inform locals of the implications of Woolworths coming to town, and there was always the intention to follow this up with a survey.
For the past two weeks the combined forces of Mullumbimby Forum and Mullumbimby Community Action Network (MCAN) have had a stand in Burringbar Street, with form letters to the chairman of Woolworths for concerned residents to sign.
The letter appeals to the chairman to look to the company’s stated principles of ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘making a positive impact on the communities in which we operate’.
So far more than 1000 letters have been signed, and these will shortly be handed over personally to the Woolies chairman.
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