Skip to content

Store hours bylaw hearing tonight

BY CRAIG GILBERT [email protected] Greater Sudbury, the last city in Ontario with a bylaw regulating store hours, is Â?so far ahead it just looks like we're behindÂ? according to a major retail union chief.
BY CRAIG GILBERT

Greater Sudbury, the last city in Ontario with a bylaw regulating store hours, is Â?so far ahead it just looks like we're behindÂ? according to a major retail union chief.

Canadian director of the Retail Wholesale Department Store Union (RWDSU) Robin McArthur was in Sudbury Friday to counter recent polls indicating Sudburians want relaxed store hours with an OraclePoll of his own.

His press conference came before a public meeting on the store hours bylaw Monday in council chambers.

A rally was expected to be organized outside.

McArthur dismisses polls by Downtown Sudbury of its members and the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce of shoppers at the New Sudbury Shopping Centre showing 70 per cent of respondents support retailers setting their own hours.

Some polls are unscientific, others are shallow, he said, arguing simple questions such as Â?Are you in favour of deregulated store hoursÂ? don't cut it.

Â?This study was very revealing,Â? McArthur said. Â?For example, when asked if they would continue to support deregulated hours if it meant local jobs would be lost, support to deregulate store hours dropped to 28 per cent of residents.Â?

The questions asked of 422 residents in the OraclePoll Research report indicate support for open store hours falls to about 25 per cent when qualifiers such as Â?if it would causeÂ? stress to workers and their families; local small businesses to close and local jobs to be lost.

Sudbury has lost 5,600 retail jobs since 1997 when there were 14,800 jobs in the sector locally, according to McArthur.

He issued a challenge to the Chamber, demanding they poll their own retail members on the store hours issue, not Â?banks, trust companies and insurance companiesÂ? that seem to dominate its ranks.

Â?The fact is the Sudbury chamber of commerce does not represent the wishes of the retail businesses in Sudbury,Â? he said.

McArthur also attacked the perception that no shopping on Boxing Day drives bargain hunters to North Bay as claimed by the Chamber.

If $600,000 was spent at the Northgate Mall in North Bay on Dec. 26, 2003 as the Chamber claims, and 20 per cent of the 49,000 shoppers present were from Sudbury, they would have had to take 4,900 cars (assuming two shoppers per car), which would have created a line of vehicles 40 miles long.

Further, they would have paid about $30 in gas to spend an average of $12.25 at the mall, which would have had to come up with an extra 4,900 parking spaces for the Sudbury commuters.

Â?It is time the Chamber dealt with issues that are believable,Â? said McArthur.

Comments

Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.