Organizers say rally questioning Auburn Wal-Mart site a success

Wal-Mart says location near Luther Road will be a big community benefit, land suitable
By: Journal Staff Report
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AUBURN CA - Organizers of a rally questioning North Auburn Walmart plans say support was more than expected. But Wal-Mart Stores, which intends to build at an 18-acre site near Luther Road and Highway 49, is discounting concerns being expressed by the Alliance for the Protection of the Auburn Community Environment (APACE). The rally took place Aug. 18. APACE member Victoria Connolly said that 45 people attended a rally at a park near the site and about 15 people wielded signs at a 40-minute demonstration on Highway 49 at Luther Road. “We considered the rally a big success,” Connolly said. “While our informational flyers had been sent to numerous households, we would have been happy with a couple of dozen people showing up, as this issue is just beginning to get before the public.” The Wal-Mart position is that enough work on soil testing has already taken place, a spokesman for the corporation said. “The parcel has undergone an extensive environmental review and approval process and the state’s experts at the Department of Toxic Substances Control have concluded that the land is suitable for development, including the proposed Walmart store,” said Delia Garcia, Wal-Mart West media director. “Any claims to the contrary are not based on the facts and are simply an attempt to spread fear and create controversy where there is none.” An APACE attorney was at the rally to explain the history of the site and describe how furans and dioxins can remain in the environment, Connolly said. What APACE wants is further testing for the substances in accordance with a state request, she said. Plans are a 155,000-square-foot store on the site of a former lumber mill. “The fact is the new Walmart will benefit the community by creating jobs, providing customers with the convenience of one-stop shopping for affordable groceries and general merchandise, and being a catalyst for economic growth,” Garcia said.