Few customers complain about new law

  • Feb. 1, 2008 6:00 p.m.

by Heather Ramsay–Only one out of 14 customers had complained about the new pay before you pump legislation at Taaw Naay Enterprises in Skidegate. The Observer arrived just before noon on Feb. 1, the day Grant’s Law – named after a young man who was run over and dragged to death after trying to stop a “gas and dash” at a service station in Maple Ridge – came into effect. Taaw Naay gas attendent Ann Martynuik said one man made a fuss about having to pay before she put gas in his vehicle, but she just threw up her hands. “It’s not us,” she said. The government followed through on a commitment to making gas stations safer for employees after Grant Depatie’s parents began lobbying for new workplace rules. “It’s for everybody’s safety, but especially on the mainland,” she said. Ms Martynuik explained that customers with a credit card could still say “fill it up” if the card was brought into the station first. Otherwise, those who pay cash have to estimate the amount they need to fill up their tank. If the customer pays too much, then they come back into the station for a refund. Some customers found the new rule confusing. “It’s going to take some ironing out,” said one man in the store. Others said, “whatever works,” “it’s for safety so who’s going to complain,” and “I think it should be law in the pubs too.” At Bayview Sales and Service in Sandspit, open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only, owner Jim Henry hadn’t dealt with any customers when the Observer called, but he had been visited earlier by Worksafe BC representatives. They informed him of the rule and had him sign papers, but he said it really doesn’t apply to his service station. “It’s good legislation . . . for the city,” he said. He said, not only does he know all of his customers, but anyone trying to “gas and dash” wouldn’t get very far, very fast on Moresby Island. The legislation is actually an update to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation on working alone or in isolation. The law also impacts late night retail outlets, like convenience stores, and says two people must be employed in the store after 10 pm. The Observer talked with Ray Pelletier at Causeway Convenience in Queen Charlotte, who said he wasn’t aware of the law’s impact on his premises. His store is open until 11pm every night. “I would have to get out of bed and come down for the last hour,” he said. He says it is hard enough to find someone to work in his store, let alone someone willing to spend one hour there every night. “I may have to close at 10 pm,” he said.