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2005-04-18
Guelph, Canada. Citizens Continue Ten Year Battle Against Wal-Mart

Sam Walton boasted that if a community didn't want Wal-Mart, they wouldn't "create a fuss", but simply move on to other communities that did want them. In Guelph, Ontario, Wal-Mart has waged a ten year effort to get into town, making much more than a fuss. Here is the latest update from citizens who have been fighting off the giant U.S. retailer: "Citizens of Guelph have actively opposed Wal-Mart for almost a decade. In 1997, our former Mayor and city council rejected a Wal-Mart developer's application to build in Guelph. Wal-Mart wouldn't take no for an answer, and appealed this decision in 1998. A long, involved series of hearings followed, between Wal-Mart and Guelph's community coalition, Residents for Sustainable Development (RSD). In May 2004 a NEW mayor and city council reversed the previous city decision (sold us out!) and voted in favor of Wal-Mart and then in December 2004, the Ontario Municipal Board also found in favor of Wal-Mart, granting them approval to invade Guelph. Wal-Mart stated its intention to begin building in spring of 2005 and to open for business in fall 2005. However, RSD again rallied and filed its own appeal with the Divisional Court of Ontario -- community support for this move was overwhelming and local coalitions have been widely distributing a petition to PROVE the majority of Guelph citizens oppose Wal-Mart. An unoffical local radio poll demonstrated 74% of residents that called into the show opposed Wal-Mart. In March 2005, against all odds, RSD was granted leave to appeal the Wal-Mart invasion and because of this latest delay, Wal-Mart has halted its current plans to build "indefinitely". The Ontario Divisional Court Judge has stated: "this is an issue of province-wide public importance." The case of RSD vs WM will continue this fall."

What you can do: The Residents for Sustainable Development have proven they can sustain an opposition to the world's most powerful retailer. When you add up how much Wal-Mart has lost in sales from the Guelph store that has been on hold for ten years, the number is in the hundreds of millions. There is no other retailer today that is willing to "create a fuss" like this in a small town. Wal-Mart needs new stores to keep expanding its sales numbers, and to keep its stock price healthy. Ironically, Wal-Mart's stock price has not been healthy, despite its relentless push into small towns. Guelph is just another example of a community that has the will to fight them off for years. For more information about Guelph vs. Goliath, contact RSD at their website: www.not-there.ca. Their contact person is Ben Bennet, at rsd@not-there.ca










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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