June 26, 2003
(Government Services and Lands)


The following is being distributed at the request of the Petroleum Products Pricing Commission:

Commissioner set to continue Avalon fact-finding tour

George Saunders is nearing the completion of what has become an incomparable two-year learning experience on the island portion of the province.

The commissioner for the Petroleum Products Pricing Commission (PPPC) based in Grand Falls-Windsor will again hit the road Wednesday, July 2, to finish the Avalon portion (excluding the City of St. John�s) of a fact-finding tour that has been an integral part of fulfilling the commission�s mandate.

The starting point for this trip, which is expected to take three days, is Salmonier, with stops in numerous communities along the Southern Shore ending in Petty Harbour/Maddox Cove.

Mr. Saunders, who will be accompanied by researcher David Hillier, said this process has seen him and PPPC staff travel to all areas of the island in search of a heightened insight into the distribution network for petroleum products. This information-gathering process will continue in Labrador later this summer.

"Since we started these tours in 2001, we have been able to meet people at all levels of the petroleum industry in this province, and each has provided us with information that we will be able to incorporate into future decisions," said Mr. Saunders. "The only true way to get a sense of what�s going on in the industry is to talk to the people involved in their own environment, and this is why these tours have been beneficial.

"We have been in many remote areas, and this has enabled us to see first-hand the differences in the way things are done there as compared to urban centres," he added. "I am pleased with the reception we have received, and believe the open lines of communication with those in the industry have improved as a result of these tours."

During the site visitations, the commissioner ensures the retailers are registered with the commission�s extensive database as per the Petroleum Products Act. As well, it is an opportunity for the public and those directly involved in the industry to make suggestions or voice concerns about the regulatory process.

Because of the dense population of the City of St. John�s, Mr. Saunders said it was best to leave that area for last and he plans to conduct the visit at a later date.

The commissioner also intends to conduct a tour of coastal Labrador during the month of August. Those dates have yet to be determined.

"I am looking forward to meeting as many retailers, distributors and members of the public as possible, and the information we collect is vital to our ability to effectively carry out our mandate," said the commissioner.

If anyone would like to meet with Mr. Saunders while he is in the Southern Shore region, arrangements can be made by contacting the office toll-free at 1-866-489-8800.

Media contact: Michelle Hicks, Communications. Tel: 1-866-489-8800; (709) 489-8837; Cell: (709) 486-4789.

2003 06 26                                       2:15 p.m.

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