READER'S VIEW: Council needs to reverse Bunning's decision

Campaign needed to reverse this decision

I HAVE the utmost admiration for Bill Ludwig and his team of councillors.

Nobody can doubt their work ethic or their dedication to the best interests of this community.

However their decision to sell-off part of the land the works depot is located on to allow Wesfarmers to establish a Bunnings Warehouse in Yeppoon is nothing short of disastrous.

Our region is already in the grip of a severe recession which has come on top of the leftover effects of a catastrophic cyclone. As a result, most of our small businesses are barely surviving. Allowing a Bunnings into this community will send scores of them to the wall.

I don't object to the presence of Bunnings in capital cities and large regional centres such as Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone, but I do not think they should be welcome in smaller centres like Yeppoon.

Our local small businesses cannot compete with the buying power and advertising clout of a national retailer in their own backyard. At present the only buffer they have against this is the round trip to Rockhampton.

If Bunnings comes to Yeppoon and forces the closure of many of our small businesses, we will lose a significant amount of revenue from our community and a great deal of local expertise.

The insinuation that things will remain much the same because Bunnings will continue to allow local charities to raise money from sausage sizzles is quite laughable because the money involved is already in the local economy and is merely being recycled.

The real issue at stake here is that all the profits that Bunnings make leave our local economy and end up in the pockets of wealthy big city and overseas shareholders.

I am certain that there are many people who have had the experience of standing for ages in a Bunnings' aisle waiting for some help, hoping to find someone in a red shirt, only to be greeted by a junior casual with no product knowledge resulting in them feeling totally frustrated.

A complete contrast to this would be walking into Andy Ryan's or Aqua Pumping and Solar for irrigation advice and speaking to people with years of experience who know exactly what they are talking about. Similar experiences would ensue in all of our locally owned and operated businesses.

The great majority of staff at Bunnings in Rockhampton are fine people dedicated to providing the very best customer service.

Unfortunately they are badly let down by the greed of senior executives at the boardroom level who, in their quest for maximum profits, are prepared to leave their warehouses appallingly understaffed.

As an ex-Bunnings' employee I do not recall with fondness the many occasions when I was the only "red shirt" between the pavers at the back and the power gardening aisle, an area which included the nursery, barbecues and outdoor furniture, pesticides and herbicides and irrigation equipment.

I also had to carry the dreaded internal phone to answer inquiries from customers, sometimes necessitating a return to the warehouse floor during my lunchbreak.

Yeppoon deserves a better level of service than this.

Some questions we all deserve an answer from Bill Ludwig and his councillors to are these.

Firstly, are the flood mitigation works on the roundabout and nearby areas to Home Hardware being undertaken to assure the Wesfarmers Corporation that the area will be flood proof? This would be a sensitive issue to Wesfarmers, given the problems they have encountered with the Bunnings in Mackay.

Secondly, who is footing the bill for this work; is it the ratepayers or Wesfarmers?

I am prepared to work very hard to stop this lunacy.

I urge others to join me in a campaign to reverse this terrible decision.

David Lewis


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