“I’d just like to tell you guys to please talk to other guys who have Walmarts in or near them and find out how they’re doing”, said Hoquiam’s Denise Anderson who led off a public comment period dedicated to smashing the retail giant famous for low prices and eliminating competition.
Hoquiam’s Judy Carter says there is only so much money that can be spent on the Harbor, “There will be more stores closing down and I think we’ve lost enough”. Carter was one of eight speakers who called on the city to reconsider allowing Walmart the permits needed to expand to include groceries and other items, while encouraging shoppers to look to local businesses for their shopping needs.
Councilman Frank Gordon says if that’s really what citizens want, then Walmart is not the only culprit, saying “Lets get rid of Home Depot, Pennys and go back to the small stores”.
However the council is largely powerless to stop the expansion. “The staff issues permits based on the laws they’ve passed. They can change the laws but they can’t go back”, says City Attorney Eric Nelson, who added that the only hope of stopping the expansion is the Friends of Grays Harbor’s appeal of the shoreline permits that have been issued. That appeal will go before the State Environmental Review Board at a hearing on June 30th.