Out of gas

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL MACEACHERN

Carbonear’s Wa­ter Street is about to lose an­other land­mark. And a lot of peo­ple are go­ing to miss it.

The Ul­tra­mar Carbonear ser­vice sta­tion on Wa­ter Street is clos­ing.

War­ren May­nard, Ul­tra­mar’s di­rec­tor of re­tail op­er­a­tions in At­lantic Canada, said the sta­tion had a “lower than av­er­age” per­for­mance, and the com­pany will be clos­ing it Oct. 31.

“It ba­si­cally comes down to a prof­itabil­ity is­sue,” he said from his of­fice in East­ern Pas­sage, N.S., on Wed­nes­day.

May­nard said there are sev­eral mod­i­fi­ca­tions that need to be made to the site, in­clud­ing up­grad­ing the un­der­ground gaso­line stor­age tanks — which he said would cost a “sig­nif­i­cant six-fig­ure amount” — but the low prof­itabil­ity doesn’t war­rant the in­vest­ment.

“The vol­ume at the site is sig­nif­i­cantly be­low our av­er­age for the mar­ket,” he said, adding that gas sta­tions that were built 30 or 40 years ago don’t nec­es­sar­ily meet the needs of to­day.

May­nard said the de­ci­sion was made a few months ago and Ul­tra­mar gave the owner “as much no­tice as pos­si­ble.”

He added that af­ter the sta­tion is closed, the stor­age tanks will be re­moved, and once an en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view of the prop­erty is com­pleted, the site will likely be put up for sale.

Peter Samp­son, who has owned Samp­son’s Bar­ber Shop across Wa­ter Street for 40 years, says he’ll miss the sta­tion. He says he would of­ten go across the street to have a laugh and tell sto­ries with the staff.

“I think it’s ter­ri­ble. I de­pends on that place over there, for lunch and change, and now they’re go­ing to be gone,” he said Fri­day.

When it closes at the end of this month, it will mark the first time in half a cen­tury there will be no ser­vice sta­tion on the site. The Bri­tish Amer­i­can Oil Com­pany opened the first B/A sta­tion there in June 1960 un­der the man­age­ment of Rex Ser­rick. Walt Mil­ley also op­er­ated the sta­tion as a B/A and later, Gulf be­fore it be­came Ul­tra­mar Carbonear.

Gerry Power, the lo­cal man­ager of the sta­tion, de­clined to com­ment on the sta­tion’s clo­sure and re­ferred ques­tions to Ul­tra­mar’s head of­fice.

Daniel MacEachern/The Com­pass

Oil re­fin­ing gi­ant Ul­tra­mar says it will be clos­ing Carbonear’s Wa­ter Street gas sta­tion on Oct. 31.

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