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Petro Canada for permits to build temporary station

Olympic sponsor will loan site to VANOC for 2010, with plans to build permanent station post-Games

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The cleanup of Whistler’s Petro Canada site is complete, and now the company is in the process of tabling a development permit application for the Resort Municipality of Whistler to put a temporary fuelling facility in Creekside.

According to Petro Canada spokesperson Sneh Seetal, the temporary station will be in place until just before the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, when the site will be provided to the Games’ organizers for their use during events.

“We reached a decision, and communicated that decision to the mayor and council at the end of June,” said Seetal. “The first phase will include a temporary fuelling facility to provide Whistler with another supplier. We also have an application to build a permanent facility and convenience store, which will be constructed after the Olympics which will give VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games) access to the lands leading up to and during the Games.

“Right now we’re working with the municipality to meet the deadlines required for the three phases.”

According to Seetal, the goal is to have the temporary facility installed as quickly as possible, but the timing will depend on how quickly the permits can be processed at different levels of government. Ideally they would reopen this winter, but she said it could be as late as spring of 2008.

Petro Canada has not been told how VANOC will use the site during the Games, but expect to hear soon as the logistics for staging the Games are finalized.

Whistler has only had one self-service station since the Petro Canada site in Creekside was closed one year ago, following the Labour Day weekend. The Husky station and Sabre Card Key facility have helped to pick up the slack, but with longer lines and at least one instance of the Husky running out of fuel on a busy long weekend.

An underground gas leak was detected on the Petro Canada site in 1999, and recovery efforts have been underway since 2001 using a process called multi-phase vacuum extraction that effectively siphoned the fuel out of the ground for safe disposal.

While the process is effective and less invasive, it was also taking too long. Original estimates suggested that the cleanup should have been completed by 2006, but it was taking much longer. As a result it was holding up plans to realign Whistler Creek around Franz’s Trail, as well as Petro Canada’s own plans to refurbish their facilities on-site. The decision was made to physically dig up and remove the contaminated soil from the site, which required the closure of the service station.

Now, after remediation efforts are completed, Petro Canada is looking to get back into business in Whistler.

“We appreciate the support and the patience o the community and we work towards a solution that will meet community needs, and support our partnership with VANOC at the same time,” said Seetal.

Petro Canada is the national oil and gas partner of Vancouver 2010, as well as a supporter of Olympic and Paralympic teams and athletes.

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