Owen Sound, Ontario — Sticking up for its downtown businesses, the Owen Sound City Council derailed Wal-Mart’s plans to expand a current store into a supercenter.
With a 6-3 vote, the city council rejected zoning amendments that would have permitted Wal-Mart to expand an existing store in Owen Sound by 30,000 square feet to add a grocery section. The council went against the recommendations of the Owen Sound planning staff, which wanted to allow the new addition, but require that it not open until 2011.
The council members opposed to the expansion reasoned that they were sticking up for the downtown businesses, specifically the area’s lone grocery store. “Our role is not to regulate competition . . . but under our official plan, we have an absolute obligation to protect a significant component of a distinct commercial district, that being the city’s downtown,” Coun. Bill Twaddle said during the meeting, as quoted in a Owen Sound Sun Times article.