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Walmart store demonstration planned for North Auburn

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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An Auburn group concerned with issues surrounding Walmart locating off Highway 49 near Luther Road is to take their message to the street Saturday. The Alliance for the Protection of the Auburn Community Environment (APACE) is calling on Placer County’s environmental process to be reopened on the North Auburn property and is planning to hold a rally at 10 a.m near the Walmart site. It will be followed by a late-morning sign-waving demonstration at the corner of Luther Road and Highway 49. Wal-Mart’s response to APACE efforts have been statements that the store project does not require any further environmental review and the local group’s attack has been error-filled and obstructionist. APACE member Victoria Connolly said Friday that the rally would be encouraging the county Board of Supervisors to reopen the environmental review, specifically information on environmental cleanup. Before the rally, Connolly said the group was hoping for a “reasonable” turnout and had sent out more than 3,000 invitations by mail. “Two creeks run through this property, which go into the drinking water supply,” Connolly stated. “Citizens need to know the dangers of fugitive dioxin-laden dust if released during construction.” APACE is also seeking a detailed look at the impact of a Walmart store now that the corporation has bought the site. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Amelia McLear said in June that the state determined in 2007 that the site is safe for development of any kind. Wal-Mart purchased the property three years later only after the parcel underwent extensive environmental review and approval by the state, she said. APACE has opposed the Walmart project since early in the planning approval process. Supervisors approved environmental clearances in September 2010 for what was described by then-owner Jim Conkey of Roseville as a Costco or Walmart store. Plans are for a 155,000-square-foot store on an 18.6-acre parcel just north of the Luther Road-Highway 49 crossroads. The rally will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday in Fiddler Green Park on Canal Street. Plans are for participants to leave the park after the rally and gather with signs for a demonstratiion at Luther Road and Highway 49.