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Two months later, still no gas at lone North Leeward station

Two months later, still no gas at lone North Leeward station


Tue Mar 18, 2013

By: Taranjah Yaw

Exactly two months after the pumps went dry at the lone gas station in North Leeward, they are still not running, frustrating fuel consumers in the area.{{more}}

The last gas delivery to the station was on December 24, the day of the devastating floods, and that stock lasted until 17 January.

SEARCHLIGHT visited the station about one month ago, after customers began complaining, and was told that the supplier SOL didn’t want to send their vehicle, as the roads were still unfit for the heavy duty gas transporter, especially an area at Spring Village where the road had fallen in on Boxing Day and had to be replaced by a temporary one over a gutter, which only allowed for light traffic.

The road has since been repaired, but the gas woes reportedly continue. Engine boat operators and motor vehicle operators within the area say they have no choice but to get their fuel from the nearest gas station at Buccament, or further down the coast, or pay 20 dollars or more per gallon from the cottage businesses, which have sprung up. Persons buy gas at the other stations in large containers for resale at a considerable mark-up of $20 or more, while the usual retail price is $14.08 per gallon.

Block maker and concrete designer Lawrence ‘Bongo’ Stephens told SEARCHLIGHT that he is so frustrated by the system that he feels like “shuttin’ down shop.’’

“Ah mean my business is heavily dependent on gas and I operate mostly in the area, so if I don’t have a need to be in Kingstown, then I am only wasting time and money going all the way to Buccament or Questelles,” the irate business man said.

Another upset customer, Wallace Stapleton of Silver Star bakery at Spring Village, said that once again the dry pumps at the lone area station are affecting his business when he has to fill up out of the area, costing time and money. Stapleton also said that even though one bakery in the area has recently closed, there is more competition, as vendors are coming from other areas. “This has gotten to a point where the authorities may have to step in, bearing in mind the recent disaster,” he further stated.

SEARCHLIGHT contacted the supplier SOL and was told that they had given the go–ahead to order more than five weeks ago, but up to press time no order has been made.

“We are very concerned about the inconvenience to consumers, but we have no control here, as no order has been made”, said Steve Francis of SOL.

The gas station is located midway between the Chateaubelair and Fitz-Hughes waterfront. It was built by Grafton ‘Supa” Audain, local business pioneer and all-rounder, who has since passed. It has been in operation for close to thirty years and the franchise is still held by the family.

Edgar Lewis-Harvey of Brooklyn and Chateaubelair has been operating the station since May of last year, after the pumps went dry in January of that same year when the previous operator stopped placing orders for fuel. Less than a month after the much anticipated re-opening, burglars broke into the building and stole cash and a variety of stock.

SEARCHLIGHT also visited the station yesterday and the pump attendant still had no answers about when the pumps will be running again. “Business is non-existent as people would just buy oil and other supplies where they buy gas. I feel so bad for our regulars,” the attendant said.

The station has a capacity for 3,100 gallons and 2,950 gallons are delivered per order.