Local gas pumps shut-down

Pumps shut down
Pumps shut down

Local gas stations are opting out of selling fuel, due to the cost and red tape involved. Within the last year local businesses to stop selling fuel include, Maple Ridge Store, Desbarats Service Centre, and Lakeview Gas Bar in Thessalon. This has been a frustrating situation for station owners. Not to mention a huge inconvenience to local residents, and travelers needing fuel.

According to Owner/ Operator Curtis Mills, the Desbarats Service Centre, located on Highway 17 East in Desbarats, began having issues with TSSA last spring.  Transport Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), according to its website, “is a not- for- profit, self-funded organization dedicated to enhancing public safety”. “It delivers public safety services on behalf of the Ontario Government”. This includes the transportation, storage, handling and use of fuels.

Still open for business
Still open for business

 A TSSA inspection required a pressure test on the tanks, to check for leaks. The business hired a contractor to do the testing and passed, but at a cost of $3000. Mills emailed the results in as required, but a follow up phone call from the inspector to insure this was done, cost him $420. The business received three phone calls from TSSA in 2014 and was billed a total of $495.  In February, the TSSA inspector decided more testing was required, which could not be done locally and would cost over $3000. At that point Mills made the decision not to continue with any further testing or upgrades. He states that “there would be no recovering the costs to keep up with the never ending inspections and tests”. However as a result of his decision, TSSA has placed the station in “non-compliant” status and is no longer allowed to purchase or sell fuel.

No fuel for sale in Desbarats
No fuel for sale in Desbarats

While the service garage remains open during the week, the evening and weekend hours were cut when the pumps shut down.  Thus resulting in two students losing their part time jobs, totaling about 20 hours in the winter and 50-60 hours in the summer.

Mills has taken his concerns to MPP Mike Mantha’s office asking him to look into the situation, and has also written to the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Consumer Services, who over sees TSSA and fuel inspections. Nothing has been resolved at this point in time.

Note to customers
Note to customers