Delicate issue of trade

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

City of Albany council candidates are split on the issue of deregulation of Sunday trading in Albany.

The Albany Advertiser canvassed the 21 candidates on whether they supported the deregulation of Sunday trading, with 38 per cent indicating they were against deregulation.

Sunday trading for general retail trade in Albany is only permitted during the summer school holiday period, Easter holidays and public holiday long weekends.

Geraldton recently had its application for a 12-month trial of extended retail trading hours approved by the State Government.

Five candidates (24 per cent) supported deregulation while five were undecided and Frederickstown ward candidate Rebecca Stephens did not want to comment on the issue.

Kalgan ward contender Alan Hortin and Frederickstown incumbent Carolyn Dowling could not be contacted for comment.

City of Albany chief executive Andrew Sharpe recently said a change to Albany’s Sunday trading policy was not on the horizon.

“The City of Albany currently has no plans to alter from its existing policy, endorsed by council at its meeting of July 26, 2016,” he said

“Most of Albany’s retail businesses can already trade seven days a week if they choose.

“There are about 220 businesses registered in Albany for retail trade, with the large majority of these businesses being small retail, special retail or filling stations, meaning they can open any day of the week.”

Vancouver ward candidate Matt Benson-Lidholm said deregulation would hurt small businesses.

“I support retention of the status quo,” he said.

“I see no point in jeopardising the viability of small local firms, particularly given that consumers, I believe, are currently well catered for.”

Wayne Downes, who is running for West ward, said he supported deregulated Sunday trading .

“I find it perplexing that we spend so much money attracting tourists to our city so that they can see tumbleweeds rolling down York Street on a Sunday,” he said

Most of the undecided candidates contacted indicated they wanted more information before making a final decision. “I have become increasingly concerned about the rising unemployment in Albany and the number of business failures, so I want to look at the latest business case on this matter before I make a decision,” Breaksea ward incumbent Ray Hammond said. Election voting closes on October 21.

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