Survey to collect public feedback on Sunday shopping in Woodstock

by | Jan 25, 2024

Council considering repeal of Sunday shopping bylaw to allow retailers to set their own Sunday business hours

The public will have one week to share their opinions on Sunday shopping in Woodstock. 

Woodstock council wants to hear from Woodstock-area residents, business owners, church organizations and others as it considers repealing the town’s Sunday shopping bylaw, which limits retail hours of operation to noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. 

Council raised the issue of Sunday shopping restrictions before Christmas after a few retailers questioned the wisdom of the bylaw, noting Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fell on a Sunday in 2023. 

The issue returned to the council’s agenda at both January council meetings, including the Jan. 23 meeting in which the mayor announced the plans for the survey. 

“That is how we’re getting our feedback,” explained Mayor Trina Jones. 

She explained the town would post the online survey on Tuesday, Jan. 24, with respondents given one week to voice their opinions. 

The survey, which is available as of Tuesday, Jan. 24, on the Woodstock website, can be accessed online at https://forms.gle/4PZ1U9m6C8svDV1S7

At the Jan. 23 meeting, Coun. Jeff Bradbury suggested seniors and others without computers or online access also needed a way to share their viewpoints. 

Mayor Jones agreed, saying the town could make printed copies of the survey available at some locations. 

The Wednesday news release announcing the publication of the survey explained paper copies are available at the Woodstock town hall and the AYR Motor Centre. 

The survey also noted Woodstock’s L. P. Fisher Public Library provides free computer access. 

The survey explains the basis behind repealing or changing the Sunday Shopping bylaw. 

“The consideration is for a new bylaw that would allow all retail businesses to operate on Sunday at the hours of their choice,” the survey states. “This would impact businesses that aren’t already exempt and allowed to operate as they choose,”

The survey listed some businesses affected by the bylaw, including drugstores, grocery stores, large format retailers, hardware, building supplies, auto dealers, optometry stores, clothing stores, and several medical and veterinary clinics. 

To weigh input from various community groups and organizations, the survey asks participants to check one or more boxes identifying their point of interest, including whether they are a resident of Woodstock or a neighbouring municipality, a business owner, a retail employee or a member of a business or religious organization. 

The survey asks a single question: “Would you support the Municipality of Woodstock to allow all businesses to decide their own operating hours on Sundays? 

Survey takers can respond whether they strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree or strongly disagree. 

The survey also provides space for respondents to provide relevant feedback.

The survey will be open from Jan. 24 to 31. 

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