South Peace News
Construction on the new gas bar and convenience store which will also house Dairy Queen in High Prairie continues but at least one resident is voicing concerns.
Barry Sharkawi attended council’s Sept. 27 meeting fearing the business, which is being built beside the West Prairie River, could contaminate future groundwater.
Sharkawi, who owns and operates Amiro’s Steakhouse in town, first told council he had no issue with Dairy Queen coming to town.
“My concern is with the gas station. It’s next door to the water we drink.”
While the town’s water is pulled upstream from the site, residents downstream could potentially be affected.
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, adding if council made the general public aware of the decision.
“A gas station next door to the water? It (contamination) will happen later on with our grandchildren.”
Council did not answer the question specifically but they did advertise the development permit on its website to meet requirements by law.
It 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 did comply with all existing provincial laws.
Sharkawi was not convinced.
“This is a danger to our community, in my opinion.”