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The Independent March 20th, 2014 : Page 1

Push comes as propane prices soar Heather Wright The Independent Union Gas wants province to help pay for rural gas lines Vol. 1, Issue 29 Ray Ward had to make a choice this winter; heat his home or put a little money into RRSPs. Heat won. The Petrolia area man has a modest home on a gravel road. He has few options for heat since natural gas lines don’t come down his road. So Ward heats his home with propane. He knows he’ll always pay more for propane than his neighbours’ pay for natural gas, but usually that’s okay. But this winter the price of propane has skyrocketed due to heavy agricultural demand in the US. Since November, the price of propane has jumped from 96 cents Free of Charge ~ Read and Enjoy! Thursday, March 20, 2014 per liter to 1.79 cents per liter. When the price started to climb, the propane deliveryman left the bill in his mailbox at the road. Ward was shocked when he looked at it. “It’s horrible,” he said while sitting in his shop before a cracking fire in his woodstove. This winter’s bitter cold has made things worse; Ward has had to refill his propane tank – at about $800 per fill – twice since November and will likely need another fill before the warm weather sets in. Normally in the winter, he has two fill ups. “I work part-time to put a little at a time into RRSPs,” says Ward. “This year the money didn’t go to RRSPs, all the savings went into the heat.” Ward is not alone. Propane users across Canada have been feeling the pinch and natural gas utilities are noticing. SEE UNION GAS Pg 2 It’s a (verbal) water deal Heather Wright The Independent It looks like Enniskillen residents will still get their water from Petrolia and save money. Petrolia has supplied water to Enniskillen since the 1990s but recently the Lambton Area Water Supply System and the township began talking about whether it could meet Enniskillen’s needs. The plan would have required some capital outlay by Enniskillen, but Mayor Kevin Marriott said at the time it could be done without raising taxes and be paid back with water rate savings within a decade. But Petrolia officials weren’t ready to let the town’s largest water user walk away so negotiations began in October to try to reach a long-term deal. There were several offers from the town which included lower rates for Enniskillen residents. Now Marriott tells The Independent a verbal agreement has been reached which would see Enniskillen continue to buy its water from Petrolia for the next 20 years. “It’s not legalized yet, but we have a verbal agreement with Petrolia,” says Marriott. “Both of our lawyers are working on it now.” Marriott expects a deal could be finalized this spring. While he was not able to release details of the deal, Marriott believes it strikes a balance for the needs of both of the municipalities. “Our rates should drop enough to really notice the difference and Petrolia can move ahead with a 20-year agreement that allows them to move ahead on solid ground,” he says. “Being neighbours, there was a huge desire to work together if we could, so both sides made some concession to make it work.” sap during the Alvinston Maple Syrup Festival at A.W. Campbell Conservation Area Saturday. Hundreds of people were at the conservation area to hear about the making of syrup and even more went to the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Arena for the Alvinston Firefighter’s pancakes during the annual rite of spring. For more photos see page 16. A TASTE OF SPRING Grace Hakala, 15, of Sarnia tastes the slow-running Heather Wright Photo 4219 Oil Heritage Road, Petrolia YOU COULD WIN Tel: 519-882-1090 • Toll Free: 1-855-864-4962 www.facebook.com/MacFarlane1922 www.macfarlanechev.com BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND The first 50 people to purchase a new or certified preowned vehicle will be entered in the elimination draw to win... $5000 $5000 SECOND PRIZE $500

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