A petition started by a local resident on the high costs of fuel has been certified for presentation to the House of Commons.
Several months ago, Signe Miller, who has lived in Creston for 37 years, began by gathering 100 signatures with a posting at the Real Food Cafe.
After reaching out to Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison to explain her frustrations, he agreed to support her cause. With the help of his staff, Miller was able to create an onine e-peition to gather a total of 818 signatures by May 11.
“I know this community,” said Miller. “There are many people who come here to retire on a big properties by the lake, and they don’t care what gas prices are because they’re financially stable. But there are also many seniors living without a fancy pension and low-income working people. Gas prices are a real burden for those people.”
She added that it also puts a strain on the semi-truck drivers who have to buy fuel to transport goods into Creston.
“Those people are our lifeline to the outside world, and they’re getting hit really hard by fuel costs,” she said.
She noticed that in Yahk, Salmo, and Cranbrook there always seemed to be a price difference of several cents lower.
In recent weeks, the price of gas has reached heights of 139.9 in Creston. According to GasBuddy, the current price at most stations in Cranbrook is 137.9. At 2 Pump Paul’s outside of Yahk, it’s 132.9.
“The gas stations in Creston should be competing with each other,” said Miller . “The prices just keep going up, and nobody wants to drop their prices to benefit local people. I feel like we’re being penalized in this community, and I wanted to know why.”
Prior to the pandemic, many Creston residents would travel south of the U.S. border to fill up on gas. Now that the border’s closed, Miller assumes that the fuel corporations are taking advantage.
“It’s just greed,” she said. “There’s no justification for it.”
She said it has been frustrating to not see any action taken by the provincial or federal government to ensure that fuel prices are kept fair and competitive.
Another part of the problem is that certain conglomerates own multiple brands. For example, Parkland Fuels owns Esso, Chevron, RaceTrac and FasGas.
“That’s a huge part of the market, so they have a lot of power when it comes to controlling these prices,” said Miller.
“I find it very disappointing that there’s such a monopoly. I can’t see the government ever taking action to make sure something is seriously done to regulate these huge companies. I just wanted the people of Creston to know that there’s someone fighting for this issue.”
Those who are interested in supporting the cause can view it online at petition.ourcommons.ca under petition e-3233. Residents can also email MP Morrison at Rob.Morrison@parl.gc.ca to voice their concerns.