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"Zero requests" for Sunday shopping, says Winkler mayor 0

WINKLER - 

By Don Radford

Retailers a few miles east of Winkler might be soon jumping into the Sunday shopping waters but their Winkler counterparts aren’t close to making a similar move.

Altona town council has given all three readings to a bylaw allowing all businesses to open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays but there’s no sign that Winkler will be following suit anytime in the near future.

Mayor Martin Harder said Monday that city council has not received any indication that local retailers are interested in throwing open their doors on Sunday.

“We have received zero requests from our retailers,” Harder said, adding that until that happens, Sunday shopping is not on council’s radar.

“It’s not us (city council) who drives the cart. The retailers drive the cart,” he said, adding however that the city is prepared to discuss the issue if there is a request.

Until that happens, he said, it’s business as usual - from Monday to Saturday.

“We have our big box stores open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Shoppers Drug Mart is open to midnight,” he said.

In Altona, there has been no reaction to the council’s move.

Town councillors said they hadn’t had any comments from the public. “We’ve had no feedback at all,” said Tim Fast.

He explained the bylaw allows businesses to choose whether or not they want to remain open.

Councillor Ted Klassen agreed. “Sunday shopping is now left up to the individual business,” he said.

The change in Altona does not allow businesses to open New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Canada Day, Labour Day or Christmas Day. Provincial legislation calls for businesses to be closed on those holidays.

Altona and District Chamber of Commerce president Geoff Loewen said the issue of Sunday shopping hasn’t really been on their agenda.

“I personally haven’t heard much,” he said, adding he hasn’t been aware of any push to bring Sunday shopping to Altona.

Loewen agreed with councillors that businesses should be the ones who choose to stay closed or open on Sundays, explaining businesses will only open if they think it will be profitable and improve their bottom line.

- with files by Greg Vandermeulen

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