Aldi’s 337th Australian store opens in Montague Rd West End today. The supermarket chain specialises in providing a limited range of goods at prices well below that of traditional supermarkets.
The company is busy emphasising the positives which it bills as a ‘smarter shopping experience’. Fundamentally, the benefits to the community boil down to employment opportunities for some locals and an alternative to the Coles Marketplace.
Aldi has completely failed though, to engage in the community consultation that it has trumpeted as a key part of its entre into the market. Depending on your point of view, the general controversy about a wall of 12 and 15 storey apartments along the river either protects Aldi from specific attention or makes it more critical than ever, that they engage the community.
Westender put a series of concerns to them, including the impact of bringing more shoppers to an already crowded 4101, the creation of a new shopping precinct without any infrastructure investment, parking and employment issues.
The company provided a bland, general press release in response which Westender published verbatim on May 24th. http://westender.com.au/aldi-wants-community-engagement/
Requests from West End Community Association were referred to the customer service department who politely declined to queries that “do not concern customer service”. Westender again offered the company the opportunity to break the Catch 22 and respond publicly to those community concerns. We have received a standard press release singing the praises of the supermarket and celebrating the liberation of West End from the Woes of Coolworks duopoly.
Many Westenders will no doubt welcome the opportunity to exercise more consumer choice, even if it does nothing to reduce food-miles, free farmers from enslavement to the supply chain or create a more integrated community on the Kurilpa Peninsula.
As your urban voice, Westender will continue to endeavour to place your concerns on the table and enable dialogue between those shaping the physical environment in which we live, work and study.