Wal-Mart in Guelph

If Guelph’s vision statement is really ‘to be the city that makes a difference,’ then we need to think differently. Visitations should be made to areas where the establishment of a super Wall Mart has occured.

Might I suggest Omak, Washington? The home of the “Omak Stampede”and the “Suicide Horse Spectacular”. There was once a vibrant main street filled with stores and other enterprizes. Today there are numerous empty stores andseveral welfare agencies housed in these former stores. “Strip development”has occured along highway 97. Where there once were fields of “baby’s breath”shrubs there are parking lots and “box stores”.

I urge you to think outside the big box, and not let a big Wal-Mart grow even bigger.  VP

When I searched your blog by the words ‘Wal-Mart,’ I got this message: ‘Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.’ There are thousands of Guelph residents who wish that were true. Guelph spent more than ten years bitterly divided over the need for a store the size of Wal-Mart — and now the retailer wants to get bigger. But the larger store adds no real economic value to Guelph; all it will do is put other existing grocers and retailers out of business. And the jobs added will be low-wage, low-benefit jobs that come at the expense of better jobs locally.

You said in your State of the City speech that the city had a ‘local growth strategy’ with ‘Urban design guidelines… to ensure that, as we grow, we maintain compatibility with existing neighbourhoods.’ You warned that ‘if we grow the same way we have for the past 50 years, we will experience longer commuting times, higher auto emissions, lower air quality, and the depletion of large amounts of farmland and land that protects our water.’ That is exactly what a Wal-Mart supercenter means for Guelph. An expanded Wal-Mart doesn’t fit into Guelph’s management plan, and it doesn’t enhance your goal of revitalizing your downtown. If Guelph’s vision statement is really ‘to be the city that makes a difference,’ then YOU need to think differently.

I urge you preserve the character of your community with its diversified shopping experiences, at least what is left of them (several locally owned busnesses have already closed) and REJECT the proposed grocery competition by Wal-Mart as a waste of capital and energy resources.RM