Station pumps its last litres

Tank replacement too costly

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 04/04/2014
Tekapo Four Square’s last pump
Supplied
LAST PUMP: George Empson stands at Tekapo Four Square's last pump, an LPG pump, on Tuesday, just before it was decommissioned.

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Tekapo's main service station has closed, with the owner deciding not to replace the 50-year-old pumps.

Four Square Tekapo owner Russell Jefferies said the petrol pumps were removed on Tuesday.

It had been a fuel station for more than 50 years.

Jefferies said he had the option of replacing the fuel tanks, but it would have cost more than $500,000, and current providers Z Energy would not pay.

"It's a sad day. It's been serving drivers for a long time, and people have been really supportive of us. It seems a strange time to do it. Tekapo has been getting busier, there are more people visiting this place than ever, and that means more people require fuel."

It leaves the tourist town with one petrol station, which Jefferies also owns, on the other side of the main road.

He purchased the Challenge station about three years ago, anticipating the decommissioning.

"But I'm disappointed they decided not to replace the old pumps. It's one less place along the main drag people can get their petrol," he said.

Tekapo's commercial foreshore area is in the early stages of development, with Four Square lined up as one of the anchor tenants.

Jefferies hoped to move to the new site in the next couple of years.

"We're looking forward to the move, but the council has wanted us off the main drag for a while," he said.

Tekapo resident George Empson remembered when the first pump was installed in the town. "It is a nostalgic moment for me to be there at the start and also the finish of fuel supply at the store," he said.

The tanks were originally put in by Shell, which historically owned the fuel systems at its dealer-operated sites. Z took over the fuel supply agreement at the Tekapo store when it bought Shell's New Zealand service stations and supporting infrastructure in 2010.

Z spokeswoman Christine Langdon said the company had a different ownership arrangement to Shell.

"The way we work now is that dealers own the fuel systems on their own sites," she said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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