7 More Walmarts?
Updated February 7, 2008
7 new big-box Wal-Marts are proposed in Vermont
- For every 1 poverty level job Wal-Mart provides, 3 livable wage jobs are lost in the community. Wal-Marts average pay to a clerk is $8 per hour with inadequate if any coverage of healthcare. The State of Vermont Joint Fiscal Office says a livable wage is $11.49 per hour and 82% of health benefits.
- Wal-Mart is currently Chinas 5th largest trading partner (ahead of entire countries such as Germany, Great Britain and Russia). Wal-Mart funnels our local dollars not only out of the hands of local business but out of the state and the country.
What starts as one big-box Wal-Mart soon erupts with sprawling strip malls, surrounded by stark uniform condos creeping through what used to be green pastures, while gridlocked traffic stretches down the highway. Not only are the postcard views over, but the heart of Vermonts economy is put in jeopardy as sprawl clutters the views that tourism depends on, eliminates local, livable-wage jobs, and poses a very serious threat to our environment. Will Vermonters allow Wal-Mart to force its big-box into more of our pastures and cornfields? Or will we make their big-box fit into our landscape ethic and sustainable economic future with a down-sized, downtown location, justice for workers and protection for the environment?
“In pursuit of cheaper stuff, Vermonters need to be especially careful not to overload their winding roads and covered bridges, not to ruin their green rolling landscapes and not to empty out their small historic downtowns. More than a quarter of the states income comes from tourism, and nobodys going to mail home a postcard of Wal-Mart.” – The New York Times, May 26, 2004
This editorial backs the National Trust for Historic Preservation decision to declare the state of Vermont one of the 11 most endangered historic sites due to the threat of Wal-Mart.
VNRC is no stranger to Wal-Mart. Nearly a decade ago, VNRC took the lead, fought the giant retailer all the way to the Supreme Court and won. Wal-Mart is back, trying to march its way across Vermonts landscape with plans to build an even bigger super store in St. Albans in the same location the Environmental Board and the Supreme Court said no to in the mid 90s. Vermont said no with good reason back then and the threats remain unchanged the site threatens an already impaired watershed, creates scattered development and traffic congestion, and drains the economic vitality of the downtown.
As new locations for Wal-Mart are being discussed in Rutland, Bennington, St. Johnsbury, Middlebury, Morrisville and Newport, VNRC continues to oppose Wal-Marts out-of-scale, poorly placed, polluting developments. Instead, we are advocating that big-box stores downsize and go downtown, (like the existing Wal-Mart in Rutland), drastically reducing the dangers of sprawl and supporting instead of destroying our historic and vibrant downtown communities. As we work to show Wal-Mart where they should not build, VNRC will also work with the Arkansas-based multinational to find an alternate site.
Once again Vermonters have asked VNRC to take the lead in fighting Wal-Mart. Our ability to protect Vermonts local economy, clean water, and scenic landscape is dependent on your support.