Fuelling the debate at Sorting Gap

Dear editor,

I received an e-mail on Friday May 21 from the Town of Fort Frances Recreation and Cultural Manager, stating that they would no longer be selling fuel at the Sorting Gap Marina once the current supply has been exhausted.

The Town is claiming they were unable to secure employees to dispense fuel. I call B.S.

The students were told they would have to be on call from 7am to 9pm (14hrs), and only being paid for 5 hrs, and to be able to get to the Marina within 15 minutes to pump gas. Would you take this job? I think not. I have leased a slip at the Marina since it opened. In fact I sat on the waterfront development committee back in the 80’s when the Mayor was Glen Witherspoon. This Council had a vision!

There have been several operators of the Marina over the years Al (Butch) Wyder, Deb and Lou Kemp and Stacey Johnson and they all sold fuel – including the Town of Fort Frances up until this year. A few years back the Town made a decision to replace the underground tank with an above ground tank as I recall there was quite a debate! At the time I think it was the then Mayor Roy Avis said if we quit selling gas all we have is a glorified Ice Cream stand! The services at the Marina have gone down steadily. When it was run privately, they provided 24 hour security, the docks were all lit up (they also did hourly

checks on the boats at night) and it had video surveillance. There is now no security, no lights and no video surveillance. Now they are getting rid of the gas. A good majority of us who lease slips are Senior Citizens, and now we will be required to haul our gas to our boats using jerry cans. How much of that is going to end up in the water? The rental fees for a slip over the years have been quite reasonable … but we got a notice these rates were going up 22 per cent this year and 20 per cent next year, which I had no problem with, but now even a further reduction in services! I don’t think our Mayor and Council have their priorities straight. This is basically a retirement community and everything you are doing is making it harder on our seniors.

It’s not all about making money. We have lots of services in this Town that aren’t money makers such as the Library, Museum, Tennis / PickleBall courts, Sportsplex etc but they are all in place to make our community a better place to live! I applaud the Fortes Family and The Cridland Family for taking over and running a food truck and Ice Cream shop at this location and wish them nothing but the best. I suspect if they had not taken it over the Sorting Gap probably would have been shut down! Now it is time for our Mayor and Council to step up and do its part and keep pumping gas!

Ron & Pearl Pidlubny

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