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Kensington Town Council still fighting for bus fueling tank to be moved

Geoff Baker, Town of Kensington CAO, listens to Mayor Rowan Caseley’s monthly report. This month’s report detailed the progress of moving the bus fueling stations away from KISH. Baker says it’s been a five-year battle.
Geoff Baker, Town of Kensington CAO, listens to Mayor Rowan Caseley’s monthly report. This month’s report detailed the progress of moving the bus fueling stations away from KISH. Baker says it’s been a five-year battle. - Millicent McKay

KENSINGTON – Kensington Town Council may have conceded the battle, but the fight to ensure the safety of the town’s water supply isn’t over.

At the Monday regular town council meeting, Mayor Rowan Caseley updated councillors about the progress of moving the bus fueling tank at Kensington Intermediate Senior High (KISH) to alternative location.

“The concerns we have are not with the safety aspects of the tank itself but rather spills taking place. All we need is to look at what happened down in Souris where a spill happened over two days before anyone reported or found it.

“We’re concerned that something like this will happen, and nobody will know about it.”

Currently, the tank is located at KISH which sits in the 250-day zone of influence on the municipality’s wells. So, if an oil spill were to occur, after 250 days it could begin to affect the town’s water supply.

Geoff Baker, Kensington’s chief administrative officer, says it’s been at least a five-year process.

“The province has done some things – they’ve reinforced the tanks, put up a barricade – and we appreciate that. But, it there is a fuel spill or careless move that causes 200 litres worth of fuel (to spill), and that can happen, we’re in trouble.”

Pending council’s approval, the provincial government and Public Schools Branch (PSB) are willing to move the tank to Queen Elizabeth Elementary School, which sits in the five-year influence zone.

For the time being, Caseley said that is the best solution since it didn’t seem the provincial government or the PSB was willing to budge on council’s request to see the tank move to a gas station in the town or to New Annan.

“It would cost an extra $9,000 per year for fuel (if it was at a gas station). To me, that is miniscule compared to the cost of cleaning it up and doing what we can to save our wells.” said Caseley.

During the meeting, Baker agreed.

“One thing I can assure is that if fuel ends up in our water system, it will cost hundreds of thousands.”

Baker said the town has looked at seeing it move to multiple locations, like the Kensington Enterprise location, the potato services location or possibly a grain elevator property.

“We’ve been around the town, and nobody wants it,” said Caseley.

Baker added, “The ideal would be to have them fuel up at a commercial fueling station that is licensed, protected and certified. If any type of fuel ever found its way into our water system, we’d be in a whole heap of trouble.”

Caseley plans to give approval for the tank to be moved to Queen Elizabeth.

“This is a stop gap. We’ll concede Queen Elizabeth for now and continue to lobby for another location.”

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