Chilean mayor says ‘No’ to $180m Walmart distribution center

SANTIAGO – Chile’s Committee of Ministers on Wednesday approved the project that allows construction of a distribution center for Walmart in capital Santiago.

With an investment of about $180 million, the El Penon distribution center, in the commune of San Bernardo, will be the largest center of the supermarket chain that has been located outside the United States. However, the project has been widely rejected by both residents and the municipality of the commune.

The mayor of San Bernarno, Nora Cuevas, said she would consider ways to halt the plan after the project was approved unanimously by a group of ministers. She maintains that the road impact will affect the quality of life of the neighbors.

The Committee’s approval ruled out the claim made by the Environmental Qualification Resolution (RCA), which had disapproved its installation, and would have considered aspects such as the document sent by Walmart in January of this year, where they assure that the road impact ” would not be significant “.

For his part, the president and CEO of the multinational in Chile and Argentina, Horacio Barbeito, defended the project stating that, in addition to increasing the logistical capacity that will allow them to reach all corners of the country, will generate 2,000 jobs.

The Minister of the Environment, Carolina Schmidt, told Emol that the Committee has put restrictions on trucks as a maximum flow of 3 trucks per hour (previously 42 were contemplated per hour), only during off-peak hours and with restrictions on transit through El Barrancón road, as it is one of the largest concerns of neighbors.

He also indicated that the trucks will be monitored via GPS, and that the company will have the obligation to report to the authorities the fulfillment of these measures.

Walmart Chile, the company’s Chilean subsidiary, operates 380 stores in the South American country, largely under the Lider brand. Earlier this month, the retail gaint reached a deal to buy Latin American food delivery service Cornershop Inc, which operates in Mexico and Chile, for $225 million.

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