MLA Terry Lake has responded to concerns raised by Vavenby rancher Ed Shook regarding the closure of the cardlock in that community.
“I spoke with Bob at Castle Fuels and he was very amiable but said there simply was not enough business to warrant the upgrades that Suncor (owners of PetroCan) had to do to meet environmental standards,” Lake told Shook in a recent email.
Castle Fuels of Kamloops is a regional distributor and operates several cardlock facilities in the southern Interior. Owner is Bob van Driel. The company closed its cardlock facility in Vavenby on Dec. 15.
The MLA noted that the oil company has provided tanks on site at Canfor for the mill and associated truckers.
Lake said the Castle Fuels spokesperson had told him that since the Esso cardlock opened in Clearwater about six years ago, the business at Vavenby had gone down significantly.
“Not the answer you wanted (and you likely knew this already) but thought I should pass it on,” said Lake.
“Sorry to take so long to get back to you on this. I am catching up after the holidays and a busy ministry schedule.”
In his email to the MLA asking for help, Shook had noted that the cardlock had operated in Vavenby for many years and was the only source for marked gasoline and diesel in the community.
“It makes no sense,” the Vavenby rancher wrote. “Canfor has just reopened and now run two shifts and, as the facility is adjacent, fuels all their machines directly from the pumps. Truckers are back also and need fuel.”
The Vavenby rancher noted that the proposed Harper Creek copper-gold-silver mine would be 12 km away and is already a huge fuel user.
Shook said most ranchers in the area have gone away from on-farm tanks to using card-lock supply. Reasons for the switch include fire safety, theft reduction, danger of big spills, cost of inventory, and liability and insurance.
“If the card-lock disappears, we will have to go back to bulk on-farm tanks,” Shook said.
“Could you see if there is a valid reason behind this or is it a bone-head head-office idea out of Calgary?” he asked.