Candidate apologises for 'misleading' flyer

Launceston City Council candidate Kyle Barrett says he wants to see a Big W built in Launceston.
Launceston City Council candidate Kyle Barrett says he wants to see a Big W built in Launceston.

A FLYER being distributed by a Launceston City Council candidate is factually incorrect and refers to a 2011 decision that has since been superseded.

The flyer has been produced by first-time candidate Kyle Barrett as he campaigns in the local government election.

It states: "All Launceston City Council alderman [sic] rejected a $55 million Big W development creating new jobs and new investment for Launceston. Over 1000 days later. No action."

Mr Barrett yesterday apologised to any aldermen who were offended by the flyer, but said the decision at the time was a poor reflection on the city and its need to encourage investment.

The flyer statement refers to a decision by the then-council, and was taken from a story published in The Examiner in August 2011, on the city's retail strategy - in which it was recommended by an independent consultant that a Big W store not be located away from the established retail hub at Kings Meadows at Connector Park.

Since this 2011 decision, Woolworths, owner of Big W, is understood to be continuing talks on a site adjacent to the Launceston Golf Club.

Alderman Tony Peck, who was present at the 2011 meeting, said Mr Barrett's statement was totally wrong.

He said although Woolworths initially applied to go to Connector Park, it could not as the company had a policy in which any Big W store must be located next to a supermarket.

As there was no supermarket at Connector Park, the company returned its focus to the retail hub at Kings Meadows and supported the council in the retail strategy decision, he said.

Alderman Danny Gibson said there were at least four mistakes with the flyer: three of the aldermen - himself, Hugh McKenzie and Jim Cox - were not yet on the council, and Robin McKendrick was not present at the meeting.

Mr Barrett said he was pro-development and wanted to see the council encourage investment in the city.

"From my point of view and a lot of the people I've spoken to, Big W were willing at one stage to come here - what I'm saying is that if the council expressed more support for that . . . we could have one there today," he said.

Under the Tasmanian Local Government Act there is nothing to prevent misleading information in election material because it would be too difficult to police.