North Hatley gas station on brink of closing

By David Winch, Special to The Record
North Hatley gas station on brink of closing
(Photo : David Winch)

North Hatley – Is this scenic village running out of gas?
The operator of the sole service station in North Hatley, depanneur manager Ying Ming Ning, says the small, two-pump service station in this village of 700 people is now a losing proposition.
“In a regular year, selling gas here might just break even”, reflects the operator of Accommodation Massawippi. “But in a year like this”, he adds with a sigh, noting the disastrous business climate of pandemic-year 2020, “it is a loser.”
The situation is complicated by the 5-month closing of the town bridge for construction, which heavily affected traffic in August, prime tourist season. The commission on gas supplied by Sonic, a unit of Montreal-based La Coop Fédérée, is just 2.5 cents a litre, says the operator, not enough to make any profit.
The depanneur at the centre of the village is in a complex position. While it is the sole tenant of a store and its SAQ outlet, the building itself is the property of the nearby Pilsen pub. The underground tanks are owned by Marina North Hatley down the street, while the pumps themselves are property of the depanneur.
Marina owner Steve Piercy added that he was saddened by the potential closure of the pumps. “Of course it will affect boat owners; it is the only place on the lake to get gas,” he noted. “People in a small town like this need to support such a business.”
The nearest other gas stations are in Waterville, Ayer’s Cliff and Magog.
Accommodation Massawippi posted a sign this week alerting the public of the imminent closure, and there are slim hopes the local villagers will awaken to the need for a gas pump here.
“Closing it would be a loss for everyone here”, said Piercy.

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