Chiefs targeted in Woolies fight
The fight to stop Woolworths coming to Mullumbimby has gone national, with a major media advertising campaign asking the retail giant’s chiefs to abandon their plans for a new store in the town.
The Mullumbimby Forum, an organisation of six people who support the campaign against Woolworths, has submitted an advertisement and a series of personal letters called ‘The Mullumbimby Letters’ which were published in Monday’s Australian Financial Review newspaper.
The half-page ad which cost thousands of dollars is aimed at Woolworth’s shareholders and the business community, while the letters appeal directly to the retail giant’s top decision-makers and also their advisers.
“While we know that the directors and executives of Woolworths are professional and diligent in delivering value to their investors, we also believe that you are committed to corporate social responsibility and sustainability as part of core business practice,” the letters said.
“We therefore have no hesitation in writing to you personally to highlight the current community resistance that Woolworths faces as it seeks to expand its vast retail network to our magical town of Mullumbimby.
“In pushing to establish a major new commercial hub outside of our town’s existing central business area, Woolworths is presenting an unwelcome threat to the identity, amenity and long-term viability of a unique community.”
The letters said that Mullumbimby was a successful community where locals greeted one another as they popped in and out of shops in the main street.
“You can buy locally grown fruit and vegetables at the greengrocers and farmers’ markets, and meat from the region at the butchers, making us real fresh food people,” the letters said.
“We fear that a big-box supermarket away from the main street puts all of this under a cloud of inappropriate development.
“The situation in Mullumbimby is unfortunate to say the least, in our eyes it’s a case of might versus Mullum that goes to the heart of a community’s right to shape and determine its own character and destiny.”
Mullumbimby Forum secretary Tricia Shantz said the group would welcome an open dialect with Woolworths.
She said the group was trying a new tact in its battle against the supermarket chain and it was all about community democracy.
Media relations manager corporate and public affairs Woolworths Limited Benedict Brook said the site in Mullumbimby was already approved for a supermarket when Woolworths purchased it.
He said the reality was that if Woolworths didn’t build it, then another supermarket operator was likely to.
“We know there is significant demand for a new supermarket as currently people have to drive to Ocean Shores or Brunswick Heads to do the bulk of their shopping,” Mr Brook said.
“We are moving forward with this new store because we know there is support for it within the Mullum community.”
For more information on the Mullumbimby Forum group go to www.magicalmullum.com