Highway robbery at the gas pumps

Once again, the Shuswap is being treated to the highest gas prices in the region.

With our Salute to the Sockeye celebrations underway, the Shuswap is being treated to the highest gas prices in the region.

This should come as no surprise to Salmon Arm and Sicamous residents, many of whom seem resigned to paying whatever petroleum companies deem we should be paying, regardless of whether or not it’s just or good for the local economy.

To others, however, it’s highway robbery.

As of last Thursday, while residents of the two Shuswap municipalities were paying 137.9 per litre, folks in Enderby and Vernon were paying 129.9. And Kamloops – are you sitting down? Kamloops was paying 120.9.

Even in the Lower Mainland, gas can be had for as low as 122.9. And that’s with the carbon tax.

The lower gas prices being enjoyed elsewhere reflects how the price per barrel has been plummeting.

The situation in the Shuswap is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get angry.

A fellow just left our office in a fit over the disparity the pump. While voicing his frustration, city council was reviewing the 2015 budget, discussing a 1.52 per cent tax increase (it’s now 1.9). The day prior, the Shuswap Community Foundation released its Vital Signs report which, among other things, notes there is a “significant gap between the rich and the poor in this community,” and that “wages for entry level jobs are quite low,  which pushes people away to larger communities.”

This is further compounded by a lack of affordable housing (which, in the Shuswap, means $300,000 or less). This-supply-and-demand situation has subsequently pushed the cost of rentals into Lower Mainland territory – between $1,100 and $1,500 before utilities.

Among the sea of want ads on the Internet for local rentals, one person writes, “There is a huge housing crisis in Salmon Arm. I don’t understand what drives the price of rent, but I have never lived somewhere so expensive.”

Life in the Shuswap is already a costly proposition. Our ridiculous gas prices aren’t helping any.


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