Our grandparents told us there were a couple of things not to talk about with friends because they were such divisive issues they risked alienating people you loved; politics and religion.
Perhaps just as divisive an issue is that of 7 day trading, or deregulated trading hours.
The Geraldton council is set to consider whether or not to bring in fully deregulated trading hours in Geraldton.
It is important to understand what deregulated trading hours actually means and what it does not mean.
It does not mean each retailer will open 7 days a week. It only gives businesses the RIGHT to open when they choose. There are people in the community who hope to see 7 day trading come in throughout the whole retail sector of Geraldton, but many businesses surveyed by the Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry stated that even if the laws changed, they would NOT participate in 7 day trading.
However, according to comments made on Everything Geraldton's site and Facebook page there are small business owners who feel they would be pressured to open on Sunday simply to compete with larger retailers, thus in practice they don't really have a choice if they want to stay in business.
As the current situation stands, smaller retailers are permitted to trade seven days, but larger ones are not. If full deregulation comes in, larger retailers will have the same trading rights as smaller retailers.
So essentially the debate is whether to keep 7 day trading as only the domain of smaller retailers, or open it up for larger retailers as well.
Friday 3rd May is the last day to make your submissions to council on the issue of deregulated trading hours by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or posting to City of Greater Geraldton, PO Box 101, Geraldton, 6531.
The City of Greater Geraldton Council have started surveying residents by phone, and have also made available some online surveys. Links are below.