Dear Editor,

I am forwarding this letter from a friend of mine [from Chilliwack]. I believe you can hear the frustration in the tone of the letter. I am a resident of the Merritt area, and I, for one, avoid purchasing gasoline here whenever possible. I know of one person who actually takes a half-dozen or so jerry cans and goes to Kamloops to purchase his gas and, of course while there, does a lot of other shopping.

I think it is about time that the residents of Merritt take a stand on this issue. It’s not just about gasoline – this is affecting the economy of this area.

I’m surprised we never hear from the business community on this issue.

‘Merritt and District Chamber of Commerce:

‘I frequently visit your area on fishing and camping trips and have been dismayed to find the exorbitant cost of gasoline that is of significant interest to those of us pulling trailers and other recreational vehicles. You can believe this is a topic of conversation around every campfire among us campers and anglers and it should be of concern to Merritt’s chamber of commerce as well. Just one example of many I could give is that on our most recent trip, the cost of gasoline in Merritt was $1.44.9/litre while in my hometown it was $1.31.9 – quite a difference.

‘There are many words used to describe the situation, most being unprintable. Two that I can use are “rip-off” and “gouging.”

‘Many others and I have solved the problem by filling up in Hope and carrying a jerry can with additional litres of gasoline.

‘Many of us are now avoiding Merritt. That means we are not only avoiding the gas stations but also not visiting eating establishments, shopping for groceries or visiting your retail outlets such as Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart.

‘The bottom line is that Merritt is not necessary at all. More and more of us are simply passing through. The ultimate insult is that I found gas in Logan Lake at $1.33.9 compared to Merritt’s $1.44.9.

‘May I be so bold to suggest that you discuss this “problem” with your members who are selling gasoline and perhaps they can put pressure on the parent companies that set gasoline prices. The whole retail community would benefit if visitors found prices to be reasonable and competitive.

‘The good news is that I do not live in Merritt and am not forced to pay the outrageous prices on a daily basis. I am surprised that there has not been a major community uprising.

‘Thank you for allowing me to bring this concern to your attention. Our concern should be your concern.’

Dennis Sherwin