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Gas prices dip down after chamber initiative
A rollback of gas prices has put a smile on Jim Kimmerly’s face.
On Tuesday, the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce president contacted the Observer to say one of the city’s service stations, Chevron, had dropped their price of regular from 138.9 to 131.9 (Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper did the same). By Thursday, the rest of the city’s gas stations had followed suit. And suddenly, after a summer of having higher-than-average gas prices in the region, the city is enjoying among the lowest.
Kimmerly suggests the price drop may have been prompted by a recent chamber survey in which members were asked if they thought if the higher gas prices were giving people another reason to shop out of town. The majority of respondents felt this to be true, and that having prices more in line with Vernon and Kelowna would have a significant positive impact.
The Observer broke the story on the chamber survey on Aug. 14. Since then, it has received the attention of television, radio and print media throughout the region.
In addition, the chamber’s awareness-raising exercise has garnered the interest and support of local politicians, including Cooper and Sicamous Mayor Darrell Trouton.
Kimmerly is grateful to everyone who helped get the message out, for the ongoing support, and to the Salmon Arm Chevron for their leadership.
“It seems like what’s happened here, over time, is that the service stations have gotten into this competitive lull. They don’t have the competitive spirit like in some of the other centres,” said Kimmerly. “A lot of people that I’ve talked with over the last few weeks especially, they feel almost insulted they get charged this higher price than almost every other area around us.”
So now the chamber is going to take a wait-and-see approach, says Kimmerly, who will be watching to see if prices stay in line with Vernon and Kelowna.
Trouton believes, as does Cooper, that the issues raised in the survey should be addressed on a regional scale.
“What we really need to do as an area, as a region – maybe for the Shuswap, maybe for the Thompson-Okanagan – is say, ‘listen, let’s get onboard with this so it’s practical and we’re not playing this game with the oil companies, the gas companies…,’” said Trouton.
“It seems to be some kind of a game that goes on with the oil companies, and maybe it’s a marketing plan and so forth, but it’s hard on communities and there doesn’t seem to be any rationale around it.
“Mayors and chambers… need to collaborate and approach the government and the oil companies together.”