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GO gas tank planned near Southshore Centre

by Janis Ramsay

GO Transit is ready to put a fueling station near the Southshore Community Centre.

“Willowbrook is GO’s only fuelling location,” wrote Wendell McArthur, Barrie’s director of engineering, in a note to council. “Should problems arise within that facility, service will be put at risk.”

By having a second fuel stop in Barrie, GO reliability would improve, he said.

Fuel stands, nozzles and a fuel tank with a 140,000 litre capacity are in the plans. A pump house and emergency generator will also be on the site.

If it goes ahead, it should be finished by next November.

McArthur has asked Metrolinx, the corporation that owns GO Transit, to hold a public meeting to ease any concerns from residents.

“They are putting these (fuel stations) at a number of their layover facilities where the trains sit overnight,” said McArthur.

He doesn’t perceive a problem with environmental concerns and said there will be safeguards in place to prevent spills.

But he still felt the public should be aware.

He’s requested an open house to address environmental concerns related to surface drainage, spill safeguards and containment, and landscape buffers.

McArthur said he’s still waiting for a building permit to be submitted.

Ward 9 Coun. Brian Jackson had concerns about the plan. “There has to be an environmental assessment to see what impacts this could have, and something else to consider is the visual impact,” he said.

Groundwater and surface water drainage were a concern for Jackson, who wants to see further plans before he could approve the project.

Also in the works for next year is the construction of the Barrie Waterfront Go station, which has now been delayed by six months.

Construction on the pedestrian tunnel should start in January, and must be done by March 31. It has to be finished so reconstruction work on Gowan Street can continue. Curbs, sidewalk and asphalt work, new sanitary sewers and water mains are part of the project.

The plan is to have the Barrie Waterfront GO station open by the fall.

Cost of the reconstruction, which includes $2.16 million from GO for parking spots and the pedestrian tunnel, is now $8.9 million, over the proposed $7.7 million budget.

Lowering sewers, improving the rail crossing at Essa Road and snow melting on bus platforms are being blamed for the cost increase.