By Greg Price
Higher gas prices in Taber compared to towns and cities very close to it along the Highway 3 corridor continues to draw the ire of many, with that frustration reiterated at the joint council meeting for the Town of Taber and the Municipal District of Taber last month.
Mayor Andrew Prokop put it on the agenda for the meeting at the Luigis meeting room, telling the councils at the table how he voiced his concerns in an earlier article with The Times (Aug. 21 Local Gas Prices Have Residents Fuming), as he wanted more input from councillors around the table.
“There are a lot of people are very, very upset with the difference between here and Lethbridge and it has remained that way for, I think we are looking at close to three months now or longer,” said Prokop. “My concern is the inconsistencies, usually when prices drop in Lethbridge they are pretty similar here. I don’t know why there is the difference.”
“Go across the river, Vauxhall is even worse than Taber,” added M.D. of Taber councillor Jennifer Crowson.
The following day after the joint meeting, gas was uniform at $1.149 at Petro Canada, Co-Op, Husky, Shell, Fas Gas, and Esso.
In Lethbridge, the high was $1.059, with variances including $1.039, $1.029, and $1.019, not including places you can get discounted gas like Costco which was at 97.9 cents a litre.
Coaldale had gas prices of $109.9. Going east, Bow Island was at $1.079.
Vauxhall, last Thursday was at $1.149.
“My fear is the economic impact it has in the area. It encourages people to go to Lethbridge to fill up and do whatever else while they are there. I’ve done the same thing, I’ll be getting to Lethbridge in a couple of days, I wait to fill up. Fifteen per cent difference means a lot to people. Competition is great if you are in that ball park. But why now? Why not last year?”
Town councillor Garth Bekkering acknowledged while the situation was frustrating, there is very little town council can do apart from a letter-writing campaign to MLA Grant Hunter.
“I doubt that will do anything,” said Bekkering.
Town councillor Mark Garner was filling up at one of the local stations the day of the joint council meeting and made an inquiry to one of the managers in which he was told prices set moved further up the chain at corporate.
“I say, ‘hey, why are your prices the way they are?’ And he totally agreed, they aren’t happy with it either, but they take their marching orders from Calgary,” said Garner.
M.D. councillor John Turcato theorized it has to do with the location of Taber, being at the intersection of two major highways.
“If they can charge that, that’s what they’ll charge,” said Turcato.