Cost equity a must

Darrell Cole
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Chamber of Commerce releases gas price survey results

AMHERST - Amherst residents appear to favour reducing taxes as the best way of stopping the flow of motorists across the border to New Brunswick to purchase gasoline.
A survey, conducted last week by the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce, shows 77 per cent of 148 respondents believe a lower price through tax equity is the best way to encourage residents to buy fuel locally.
"There were really no big surprises," chamber president Randy Smith said Tuesday. "We sort of figured that's what the response would be and this confirms it."
The unscientific survey, done through the survey monkey website, also indicated 83.7 per cent of those surveyed do cross the border to purchase their fuel and found that 80 per cent of those who go to New Brunswick to shop also purchase fuel there. Another nine per cent said they purchase gasoline occasionally while nine per cent said they don't.
It also found that 47 per cent crossing the border to shop spend between $51 and $100 a month on gasoline and other items, while 31 per cent spend $101 to $500 and 22 per cent spent up to $50.
Smith said 156 surveys were sent out during a period of several days.
Among the responses, people suggest cost equality is a must.
""Cut the taxes. It is proven that over and over again that when government cuts taxes they collect more money," one respondent said. "People do not mind paying their fair share of tax, but in this province citizens are robbed by taxes."
Another said the province needs to lower the tax within 10 kilometres of the border.
"Then allow it to gradually rise as you get further away so that the artificial competitive advantage in New Brunswick is nullified."
The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board is holding public hearings here on Jan. 27 regarding the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulations and the viability of markets affected by their proximity to the provincial border.
The utility and review board will ask if new zones are required to preserve the viability of businesses located near the border and should the minimum retail price be changed to preserve the viability of those businesses.
The chamber will be making a presentation to the utility and review board and the survey results will be a big part of its argument.
"You can't talk your way around this, it is a significant issue," he said. "The lower tax regime in New Brunswick is having a big effect on this part of Nova Scotia. We have to do something."
Smith said the survey shows the disparity in gas prices is hurting the local economy. While shopping at the big box stores in Moncton has long been a tradition locally, lower gas prices just a few kilometres from Amherst is giving people more reason to go across to New Brunswick for gasoline and other purchases.
"You just have to go to Aulac and Sackville on any given day to see how many cars with Nova Scotia plates are over there," said Smith. "It's the same thing in Moncton. People are going across to purchase gasoline and they're purchasing other things there as well."

Organizations: Area Chamber of Commerce, Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulations

Geographic location: New Brunswick, AMHERST, Nova Scotia Moncton

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Recent comments

  • know it all
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    I have never seen one flyer or brochure promoting the benefits of shopping local, no shop local signs, any where
    Are you for real Tooley - , do you need someone to lead you by the hand and say shop here - shop there , Gas prices will be matched soon that is a given , as per people driving to Aulac for cigarettes - booze good for them , set up a check point and fine the smokers and drunks - case settled

  • Shawnoswe
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Barb King makes a great point.

    May be the Chamber of Commerce should poll the people that live on the NB side of the border and ask them how many times they shop in Amherst a week/ month and how much they spend!

    I have never seen one flyer or brochure promoting the benefits of shopping local, no shop local signs, any where!

  • Switters
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Well duh!!

  • Barb
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    What about all the NB plates I see at the Super Store, Sobeys, and Walmart in Amherst? It all evens out in the end.

  • Joe
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I should have stopped at this line:

    unscientific survey, done through the survey monkey website

    That says it all about a self serving survey.

    Cost equality eh? Good luck with that...

    stopping people from shopping in moncton? good luck with that

    and if parity is the issue its likely that people who do shop in NB will continue to do so even if there is a change...

    And this has been an ongoing issue since people in Fredericton decided travelling to halifax by horse and buggy was a hassle, and amherst is still here....

    Cut taxes and the gov't gets more money...maybe but you could also say that with amhersts and all of nova scotias fastly aging population that an increase is actually more likely or we could cut services.

    I see nothing in this survey that suggests that this is a growing problem or one that needs to be addressed. If the Chamber were actually serious about this they would have done a scientific survey to demonstrate that this is a problem that is growing. Instead they opt for a monkey survey completed by likely 10 people who filled the survey out over and over again on the computer.