When the last gas station closed in Mary’s Harbour, on Labrador’s southeast coast, in March 2021, residents started filling up at the gas station in nearby Lodge Bay.
Then, last summer, that station closed too, staying open only one day a week to sell off its remaining stock, which lasted until about October.
Since then, the closest gas station has been in Port Hope Simpson — a 100-kilometre round trip. And when fuel prices started climbing in recent months, an inconvenience that had been mostly just frustrating quickly became costly as well.
Mary’s Harbour resident Hughie Holley told CBC News he makes the trip for fuel for his truck two or three times a week. The price of gas in the region was $2.39 per litre as of Monday afternoon.
“It costs you money to go get gas. It’s pretty expensive now,” Holley said. “It’s pretty bleak. I guess that’s all you can do; if it goes up, it goes up. That’s up to the Public Utilities Board.
“Along with the prices of food and fuel you’re going to have to give up one of it. You can’t starve.”
‘Not looking good’
Mary’s Harbour Mayor Alton Rumbolt said the whole community is frustrated with having to burn so much gas just to buy more gas, especially at record prices.
“It’s torment. It becomes a real pain,” said Rumbolt.
“Fishing season is here now and that makes it that much more frustrating because we go through a lot of gas in the summertime at the codfish and stuff like that.”
Rumbolt said Mary’s Harbour is getting by but the situation is tough. Someone who used to operate a gas station in the town was close to reopening but pulled out due to lack of staff, he said.
He hopes somebody else will fill the void and open their own station, adding town council would support the venture.
“We’ve had many meetings about it, we’ve met with different … people that we would think are interested,” Rumbolt said.
“We even talked about the town taking on gas ourselves but the municipality part of it, we’ve got to be careful with what we’re doing. They’d prefer we stay clear of it because we only can do what we can do in the Municipalities Act.”
Rumbolt said it would be much easier for the town if someone else opened a small station.
“It’s not looking that good at the moment,” he said. “We’re just hoping for the best that somebody can come onside and help in some way to get that gas station.”
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