The Town of Bonnyville council is planning on discussing the cost of fuel in town compared to the surrounding communities.
The subject of gas prices came up during the Town’s budget Open House on Tuesday, when a resident asked who determines the gas prices and why there is such a difference between Bonnyville and Cold Lake in particular.
Mayor Gene Sobolewski responded by saying the town has already put the item on next Tuesday’s agenda.
“Well, I think Trooper said it best, we’re going to try and raise a little hell,” said Mayor Gene Sobolewski.
“In terms of the differential with the pricing of fuel with others in the region, not necessarily Cold Lake, but St. Paul as well. And why the discrepancy in price is there,” he said.
“I know the answer the talking heads are going to give me, but we’re going to voice our concern as being very unhappy, and we’ll see where the council discussion goes. We’ll see if there’s tasking, either a dialogue with companies or government, or whatever the case is.”
The answer usually given is supply and demand based on population, and the latest Stats Canada was “flawed,” said Sobolewski.
“We went down according to our population in Stats Canada in the last census…what ends up happening is when you’re consuming fuel and whether you do it on a population per capita basis or whatever, Bonnyville is using more using those goofy population stats. When you’re doing that it’s the old supply and demand model, as I understand it, and that’s what they’ve told me till they’re blue in the face,” he said during the open house Tuesday.
In July, Bonnyville RCMP started a preliminary investigation to see it competing businesses were colluding and set a fixed price for a product. Lakeland Connect reached out to get an update on the investigation and they have not responded.
“This has been going on for years,” said councillor Rene van Brabant. “Not necessarily with Cold Lake but with St. Paul way back when.”
“When asked why there was a difference, at that time about 15 years ago, they said the dividing line was Highway 41. But Highway 41 never moved. Back then that was what their excuse was.”
Last year, town council had a similar discussion, and the prices were briefly raised in the surrounding area.
“The last time we did, yours truly got blamed for the price increases in Cold Lake, so I was public enemy number one over night there,” said Sobolewski.