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Byron Shire Councillors Take Action on Woolworths Blockade

Byron Shire Councillors Take Action on Woolworths Blockade

“Let’s have our town back for Christmas!” said Deborah Lilly of MCAN at Council's meeting of 2.12.10.  She spoke in support of Cr Basil Cameron’s 'Notice of Motion' to get Woolworths' blockade of Station Street lifted over the Christmas period.  "Approaching gridlock" was how Cr Cameron described the traffic situation in Mullumbimby as a result of the Woolworths barricades which have far exceeded the proposed timeframe of 3 months from 7th June.   

"This imposition is not fair on our residents and it's not fair on our businesses" he said, adding later that it would be ironic if some businesses have to close their doors even before Woolworths have opened theirs. "With Christmas visitors adding to the current congestion, we need to open the town during the holiday period."


Cr Simon Richardson eloquently supported the Motion, saying "there is a corporate cloud growing and settling over our town" adding that "we need to be not compliant but vigilant, not puppy dogs but guard dogs, every time [Woolworths] cross the line we nail them; when they transgress we ensure that they are held to account."
Mayor Jan Barham said that council needs to know how and why Woolworths were able to set a precedent, denying public access to public space. The Traffic Management Plan, which approved public access to be restricted because of a commercial development, should have been viewed as 'public interest' and provided to council.  Deadlines and timelines for commercial operators must be given so that it doesn’t have an impact, she said and concluded that there is public grief, this is unacceptable, and that she had never seen this before.

Video: Deborah Lilly's Address

COMPENSATION:  Cr Tom Tabart tabled a Foreshadowed Motion that Council authorise the General Manager to negotiate with Woolworths for financial compensation at a commercial level in respect of denial of access to Council property in Station Street (the former Telstra site, previously rented out for some $800 per week and for which local groups have been waiting to rent).

This passionate and exciting meeting's significance may have been lost on the 30-odd schoolkids from Cape Byron Steiner School who were busy attracting each others’ attention with hand signals.

MCAN is very happy with the outcome and level of concern Councillors are showing for Mullum locals.   Cr Cameron’s Motion was carried unanimously; Crs Tucker and Woodswere not in attendance.  


Write to:  Gary Boyer, Woolworths Manager Region 9, PO Box 202, Archerfield, Qld 4108 Fax: (07) 3213 4333  Direct Line: (07 3213 4101 

or email

WOOLWORTHS QUOTE:  "...we understand that we have a duty to be more than just a retail outlet, but to also make a positive impact on the societies that we serve.  We work to the principle that we can never take our customers for granted - we need to earn their trust and respect and this means acting responsibly both inside and outside our stores."   Retrieved 4.12.10 from Woolworths Limited website  


These barricades are too much. The extra barricades blocking the
roundabout have been there 3 weeks now and they've only done a little bit of
kerbside work outside Milk & Honey. The over-exaggeration of fortification to
keep the locals out is heavy handed and an example of power and control bullying. 


Woolworths treatment of the town of Mullumbimby is nothing short of  disgusting. I hope Woolworths becomes a store that Australians associate  with the ruining of its communities as the wheel turns and people take back  responsibility for the welfare of themselves, their children and the eco-system. May the dust blow down  woolworths aisles soon and all PR agents vote to only support corporations that enhance the future welfare
 of communities and individuals vowing to not support a corporation with no  ethics.

Kirien Withers

All the mayor had to say was that it was unprecedented. If I park my car in the driveway would it take 6 month to look into it and is that just unprecedented? If Tallowood Ridge blocks the road to Main Arm will that also take 6 months for the General Manager to negotiate? Isn't denying normal access to private property an offence? Why do we have a council,   just as a talk fest? Isn't it better to die standing up than to live kneeling down?

Naval Pols

It's a classic case of double-speak for WWS to claim they are intent on making a positive impact on the communities they serve, while at the same time blithely walling of an entire residential street of Mullumbimby for months over their projected building date, creating traffic problems and impacting local businesses without any comment whatsoever. They rely on our lack of initiative and our facile belief in the fact that because they look good, and say they are good, they are good. Time to wake up and smell the roses.

Are you going to shop there? It's like literally draining Mullums financial resources- your dollar won't be spent again locally like it is now, it's gonna be GONE.

Susie Forster

You need to stop opposing change! Seems to me you are all scared of the unknown.Get with the times I found your local supermarket extremely over priced and food was not as fresh as you claim. I say BRING ON WOOLWORTHS it is about time you clean up that place you call a town and come into the 21st Centaury! Woolworths will SAVE you SO MUCH MONEY.
In our local town the retailers who stood to lose business became niche markets the butcher started selling kangaroo crocodile and emu sausages (something Woolworths doesn’t do) the local fruit shop thrived because locals still wanted to buy fresh produce and the bakery turned into a cafe so it could still get people to come in and buy the same fresh bread they love and have a cuppa and a chat too. It is not the end of the world and is not going to destroy your town.
It must also be noted that your existing local supermarket SOLD Woolworths the site, so clearly they don’t care what happens to the future of Mullum and neither should you. As for the blockade the whole Northern Rivers Roads are shit. Mullum has always been a shit fight for parking and you need to get up Byron Council (whose Chambers are just down the Road) about widening roads and creating more parking spaces in your beloved town.


Hello Karla
I hear you think we are all wasting our time.Perhaps you are right.  However, awareness-raising about the corporate domination is important to us.   You only have to look at the domination of Station Street for nine months or more instead of 12 weeks to give you some idea.  

Some of your information is questionable.  The IGA did not sell to Woolworths, Mallams did.
We are interested in local produce supporting local farmers and emu, crocadile and kangaroo is not local. 
By the way, Woolwowrths does sell kangaroo meat.
Where are you from?





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