A High Prairie merchant is again expressing concerns over the proposed gas station by the West Prairie River.

Barry Sharkawi attended council’s March 14 meeting renewing a concern expressed at the Sept. 27, 2012 meeting. He is wondering how the gas station received approval being so close to the West Prairie River.

“How was it approved?” asked Sharkawi saying the development was a potential risk to the water supply.

“Absolutely insane.”

“Are we concerned over the lack of approvals?” asked Councillor Sacha Martens.

CAO Bill McKennan assured council everything was in order.

“We have full compliance,” he said, adding he would recirculate the emails to council.

South Peace News contacted McKennan after the meeting asking for copies of the approval.

“I have requested permission from the approval authority to release the information,” wrote McKennan.

“Since the information is between the approval authority and the property owner (not the Town). I can assure you the approval authority has provided the necessary clearance to the property owner and their reps.”

Construction continues on the new gas bar and convenience store which will also house Dairy Queen. Sharkawi, who owns and operates Amiro’s Steakhouse in town, first told council he had no issue with Dairy Queen.

“My concern is with the gas station. It’s next door to the water we drink,” he said Sept. 27.

While the town’s water is pulled upstream from the gas station site, residents downstream could potentially be affected, he said.
Sharkawi added contamination will not occur immediately, and perhaps never, but questioned the long-term viability of burying gas tanks so close to the river.

“Not to bring poison next door to the water,” he said.

“A gas station next door to the water? It (contamination) will happen later on with our grandchildren.”

Sharkawi’s concern was not the first time putting gas tanks so close to the river was questioned. Council James Waikle asked at council’s July 12 meeting if gas tanks were allowed so close to the river. Interim CAO Herman Minderlein replied there were no issues with federal Oceans and Fisheries since they were not crossing the river. The permit issued by the Town did comply with all existing provincial laws, he said.

After the Sept. 27 meeting when Sharkawi first appeared, McKennan responded to concerns.

“To date, I have not been able to find any written correspondence from the Ministry to the Town. I will be reaching out to the ministry,” McKennan replied.

by Chris Clegg South Peace News

March 26, 2023

This item copyrighted by   AlbertaChat.com / South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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