"We conquered the evening but we haven’t won the war yet!"
That was the message on a notice circulated among White Gold and Nesters residents Wednesday, following Monday night’s public hearing on Chevron’s proposed service station at Highway 99 and Nancy Greene Drive.
More than 150 people turned out for the two-hour public hearing in the basement of the conference centre, and opponents of the station seemed to outnumber supporters by a wide margin.
Several speakers questioned Chevron’s survey methods, which the company claimed ran about 80 per cent in favour of the proposed station. None of the speakers at Monday’s public hearing who live in the White Gold or Nesters areas claim to have been surveyed.
"No one’s given us an opportunity to say ‘this is our neighbourhood, what would you like in it?’" said Tom Thomson, of White Gold. "This proposal doesn’t reflect my needs and values as a resident of White Gold."
Despite the fact most area residents hadn’t been surveyed, there was little outright hostility toward Chevron Monday.
"I’d like to see Chevron here, I just don’t think they should be in the middle of town," said Phil Johnson, who doesn’t live in the area.
Johnson said he "can’t believe municipal staff feel there will be no traffic problems," and called the proposed location "highly inappropriate."
Johnson suggested Chevron compromise and put its service station on privately owned land at the entrance to Alpine Meadows. A PetroCanada is proposed for the site.
Scott Carrell, who also lives in White Gold, said: "I heard, a couple of years ago council wanted to close this intersection because it was considered unsafe. Now it’s the safest intersection in the world."
Brent Murdoch, another White Gold resident, noted Chevron’s traffic survey was done in May, the month with the lowest volume of car traffic, according to Murdoch.
Several speakers raised concerns about the 24-hour operation of the proposed gas bar and convenience store.
John Konig, a lawyer for Peter and Erika Durlacher, who own the Durlacher Hof pension on Nester Road, delivered a 47-page brief opposing the proposal. Konig said he went through all the response cards Chevron received and counted cards 256 in favour, and only 15 opposed. However, those in favour were from people who lived all over the world, including Vancouver, Calgary and one from Lima, Peru.
Konig said the Durlachers did their own survey of White Gold and Nesters residents and found approximately 70 property owners opposed to the Chevron proposal. He then produced colour coded map to illustrate his point.
"Hold Chevron to its word," he told council. "Chevron says it won’t go in an area where it’s not wanted."
Konig suggested the future intersection of Blackcomb Way and Highway 99, where a traffic light is being considered, is the more appropriate location for the service station.
Those who spoke in favour of the Chevron proposal noted the company’s commitment to the World Cup ski race and praised Chevron as a good corporate citizen. But Thomson said told council they must give the concerns of the neighbourhood greater weight than those of people who don’t live in White Gold or Nesters.
Council is expected to make a decision on Chevron’s application at its regular meeting Monday, Nov. 3.