lifted from Sydney Morning Herald website
Vinnies is too downmarket for Bowral's shopkeepers
by STEPHANIE ANDERSON
February 15, 2010
Upmarketshop owners in Bowral have joined forces to prevent St Vincent de Paul opening a store in the town centre, deeming the charity an ''unsuitable tenant'' as a neighbour.
More than 60 business owners signed a petition to block the move by Vinnies which would see its charity shop relocate along Bong Bong Street.
The Southern Highlands regional president of St Vincent de Paul, Joseph Buhagiar, said this disappointment had come after five years of looking for a new location. He said arrangements had been made for the shop to relocate on February 1 but he had been approached before the move by a neighbouring shop owner, Linda Dunsire.
"She said 'we are putting a petition on' because she said it would devalue properties," Mr Buhagiar said.
"The next thing I know, she put this petition to council saying 'we are opposed to this move'. On the eleventh hour, the [landlord] pulled out. It was all set but the signature."
The petition, a copy of which was obtained by the Herald, states that the retailers, restaurateurs and businesses were "most opposed" to the move by what they labelled as "unsuitable tenants".
"Bowral has tried to maintain an upmarket shopping destination for tourists and residents alike … a second-hand charity shop does not fit this criteria," it stated. "The more unsuitable businesses that continue to appear in Bong Bong Street will in turn effect tourism and tree changers from coming to our beautiful area."
The petition outlined concerns regarding illegal dumping, stating that the proposed location for the St Vincent's store would provide a "perfect late- night dumping ground".
Mr Buhagiar described the Bong Bong Street location, which already includes a secondhand clothing store, as "not all that flashy" and was adamant that rubbish would not be an issue.
"We've always had a shop in Bowral and we've already had none of that stuff and we're not having a drop-off bin," he said.
"At no stage is there ever a problem with stuff dumped."
Bowral Business Chamber's chief, Tony Springett, disagreed, stating that the expected rubbish "would take away from the streetscape".
"If you've got a shop like Witchery, you wouldn't want a shop like that next door," he said.
The SOHI magazine team have set up a petition requesting that this decision be reversed and warning of boycotts to shops campaigning against Vinnies.