On the 29th of October a meeting was held to discuss the problem of now petrol and diesel supplies. The village has been without fuel since the local garage was closed and the tanks removed. The meeting was well attended with 50-60 attendees. Discussion was lively and interest in restoring fuel supplies was strong.
A committee was appointed: Dave Monk, Gowan Greene, Noel Murphy and Mark Wheeler.
The meeting charged them with looking into establishing fuel station in the village. The prefered site was an empty section opposite the shop and next to the village green. It cannot be sited at the current site of the old garage as it is too close to the river. There was a suggestion the section that the property could be donated in return for paying rates arrears. As the council is happy to promote development this could well be possible and as a community business remain rate free or at a reduced rate. Pongaroa would need to find the money to create a forecourt and covering - estimateded at $110,000. Two fuel companies have been approached and are intererested in supplying the tanks, pumps, card readers etc that would be required. They are investigating the feasibility but are keen to paricipate as long as doing so is profitable. The community has an ambulance, a fire engine, a fleet of school buses that would benefit as well as the residents and local farming community. A 24 hour / 7 day service would also benefit tourists, who face a 120 kilometer streatch without refuling possibilities. The new committee was charged with negotiating with the fuel suppliers, getting the neccessary planning permission and other legal requirements, design and construction and above all fund raising to ensure the project is a success.
The meeting also charged the committee to explore the possibility of building a workshop that can be used to service vehicles in the area. The intention is to fit the garage out with standard equipment and the site would be leased to a mechanic. This means basic repairs and WOFs could be once again done in the village.
All motions were passed unanimously.
Picture from Bill Benzon @ flickr.com CC BY-SA