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Gas campaign takes vigilance
The Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce continues to monitor gas prices to assure local businesses and residents aren’t losing out to neighbouring communities.
On Monday, chamber president Jim Kimmerly apprised Salmon Arm council of the work done to date by the chamber that may have played a role in bringing regional parity to the gas pump – albeit temporarily. In turn, council encouraged Kimmerly and the chamber to keep at it.
Kimmerly explained the chamber had received requests by members and non-members to see if something could be done about local gas prices, which were higher than prices in nearby communities. This led to a survey of chamber members asking if and how high gas prices were having an impact.
“That was the best survey feedback we ever got… It was very clear they felt this was definitely serving up another reason for people to shop out of town, and it also had an impact on their revenue and their bottom line,” said Kimmerly, who credited the Salmon Arm Observer for getting out the story, which was later picked up by CBC radio as well as Kamloops media. About a week-and-a-half later, Kimmerly saw the downtown Chevron drop its price from 138.9 to 131.9 per litre. Soon after, other stations followed suit.
“I emailed Chevron corporate and thanked them for their leadership,” said Kimmerly. “It took a few days to get back to me but they did acknowledge they did see this story and they did respond.”
While pleased with the results, Kimmerly noted Salmon Arm gas prices were back to 131.9 Monday, once again higher than those in Vernon, Kelowna and Enderby, where gas can be purchased for 129.9.
“So this morning I emailed Chevron and I explained to them that the people who live here look at those markets as the same marketplace and the prices should be the same. We’ll see what kind of response I get from that,” he said.
Councillors thanked Kimmerly and the chamber, suggesting they remain vigilant.
“Nothing ticks people more than paying too much for gas,” said Coun. Alan Harrison. “I think the fact that the chamber took it on, I think that’s significant. As local government, we’re lobbying all over the place and I think sometimes that loses its effect. When it comes from the marketplace, as it did here – we’re certainly backing you of course – but I think there’s way more power in it, so I appreciate you doing that.”
Kimmerly said what he thinks is happening is that when there is an increase, Salmon Arm gets it, but when there’s a rollback, the city seems to get left behind.
“It wasn’t too long ago, maybe a week or two, that oil was at $111 a barrel – today it’s just over $103. That’s why some of the prices have dropped in these other markets,” he said. “Yet our prices today are still at that same price level. That’s why I think it’s a question of giving attention to petroleum companies on that issue to let them know we don’t think it’s right.”