Gas tanks fuel debate
Opening day for the return of a gas station in Coldstream is tentatively less than two weeks away, but the process hasn’t been without hurdles.
After sitting idle for nearly seven years, the former Coldstream Market on Kalamalka Road is anticipating to open Nov. 23 as a Centex gas station.
While some are eager to ditch the drive into Vernon for gas, at least one Coldstream resident isn’t happy with the new store.
It’s not the convenience store, or even the gas pumps, that Art Ferris is concerned with, it’s the two above-ground fuel tanks.
Ferris, who owns the neighbouring Curves building and resides in the home behind it, says the above-ground tanks are both an eyesore and a safety hazard.
“You go by the school (Coldstream Elementary) and then it’s like you’re in a light industrial site,” said Ferris, who is concerned about potential land depreciation due to the large tanks.
While the tanks stand out now, the owners say they are constructing six-foot fencing with strapping and hedging to hide the tanks.
“We’re doing what was asked of us and what we can to make it as visually appealing as possible,” said Don Jones, project co-ordinator.
“We’re not here to raise difficulty with the District of Coldstream or our neighbours or the community for that matter.”
The tanks have also been placed as far back as permitted, leaving the necessary 25-foot buffer from the rear of the property.
Jones explains that the three owners of the store, who also own the newly renovated Petro-Canada in Lavington, primarily went the route of above-ground tanks due to the cost.
He estimates they saved between $35 - 40,000, not to mention any of the costs associated with potential leakages of underground tanks.
“The risk of any leakage is pretty much nil,” said Jones of the above-ground tanks, adding that leaks can also be detected and cleaned up immediately, unlike underground tanks which can go undetected for long periods.
Ferris disputes the environmental claim, stating that the new underground tanks have been changed to fiberglass so they don’t rust and leak.
He also raises the issue of safety with the above-ground tanks, noting the proximity of the elementary school in the event that an incident should occur.
But Vernon School District officials say they have no safety concerns with the gas station or the large gas tanks sitting above-ground.
Officials say the only concern the school might have is from parents about the availability of junk food at the store.
“We’re happy, I suppose that it’s not an empty piece of property,” said school district secretery-treasurer Randy Hoffman.
For the most part, positive feedback is all the store has been getting said Jones, noting how many say: “We can’t wait to get fuel in the area.”
Along with regular, mid-grade and premium fuel, the gas station will offer diesel, propane filling for barbecue bottles and marine gas.
“So a lot of boaters in the area are quite excited about that,” said Jones.
Part-owner Ravi Nijjar adds: “It (gas) is going to be cheaper here too and we’re going to have weekly specials.”
The interior of the store received major renovations, as did the outside, which was overseen by a certified engineer who worked for Petro-Canada for a number of years.
Jones anticipates gas pumps will arrive Tuesday or Wednesday, after which re-paving will commence.
“Hopefully the weather holds out for that," said Jones, noting that the Nov. 23 opening is tentative. Under the Centex brand the store will be a goMarket