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Sunday trading five years off: Mayor
Sunday trading five years off: Mayor

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington has predicted Sunday trading will not be adopted in Albany for at least five years, after the results of community consultation into the issue appeared to be negative.

The results of two surveys of the general and business communities were delivered to the City of Albany on Friday and appeared to show about 55 per cent against deregulation.

About 300 businesses and 800 individuals responded to the two surveys, with about 400 individuals consulted in a separate follow-up phone survey, also included in the report.

Mr Wellington said while the council had yet to formally consider the report, he believed the results seemed very similar to two previous referenda conducted on the issue, which both returned negative outcomes.

“To me it was unlikely that people had changed their stance, but other people were saying the whole world had changed,” he said.

“It would appear that in Albany it hasn’t.”

Asset Research’s Ian McKenzie said while the results were definitely negative in some sectors, the results were not as clear as they appeared on face value.

Within the business survey retailers were strongly against deregulation (67 per cent) with non-retail businesses slightly in favour (55 per cent).

But within the community survey, the results showed an almost 50/50 split during the majority of the period before changing in the last two weeks.

A separate random community phone survey also showed an almost exact split, with 43.5 per cent in favour, 43 per cent against and 13.5 per cent neutral.

Mr McKenzie said the extra phone survey was conducted due to concerns some demographics were over and under-represented in the original community survey.

“My personal feeling is the opposing and supporting camps are definitely roughly around the same in terms of proportion within the community,” he said.

Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Graham Harvey said while he was yet to consider the report in detail, on the surface the results appeared to favour the status quo.

“However this result does not change the resolve of the ACCI to continue fighting to create the best economic environment for the business operators, especially small retailers and tourism operators, in Albany,” he said.

Mr Wellington said there would need to be substantial changes in Albany before the issue was considered again.

He said the results of the consultation would be formally considered by the council later this month.

“We’ve asked (the community) three times and they’ve said no three times,” Mr Wellington said.

“I would think it would put it to rest for quite some considerable time, you would think a minimum of five years, but it’s very hard to put an actual assessment on it.”

The full report is available on the City of Albany website.

keir.tunbridge@albanyadvertiser.com