December 9, 2015 3:46 pm
Updated: December 9, 2015 7:50 pm

Report on Nova Scotia fuel shortage ‘wake-up call’ makes 21 recommendations

WATCH ABOVE: Back in August an unusual and critical province-wide shortage of fuel put an end to many people’s plans for the last weekend of summer. An independent panel has released its findings into what happened. Natasha Pace has more.

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HALIFAX – An independent panel released a review into the fuel shortage that struck Nova Scotia in late August on Wednesday.

A late delivery of gasoline to Dartmouth’s Imperial Oil terminal led to many gas stations across the province running out of their fuel supply.

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“The fuel shortage of three days never became an emergency, but it definitely is a wake-up call,” said panel member Alphonse MacNeil.

READ MORE: ‘Third garage, no gas,’ N.S. gas shortage still causing frustration among motorists

The fuel shortage last for 73-hours and caused major headaches for drivers, especially those who depend on fuel to make a living.

Yellow Cab manager Majid Latif says at the time, half their fleet was sitting idle

“It was all of a sudden. There was no warning given, lack of communication. I personally ran out of gas on the way back from the airport,” he said.

The report says all of the fuel sold in Nova Scotia either arrives at the Dartmouth or Sydney marine terminals.

In August, the Dartmouth terminal received an oil tanker a week late and the cargo it was carrying did not meet specifications and needed to be treated.

Long list of changes

In total, the review offers 21 recommendations, including better communication between government, industry and the public.

“Earlier communication of the situation would have allowed first responders or government to better plan around allocation and rationing of resources,” said Doug Keefe, panel member.

The minister admits they had little to no contact with imperial.

“The biggest problem from my perspective was communication, was situational awareness,” said Zach Churchill, NS Municipal Affairs Minister.

“Government did not have all the facts related to the outage and the shortage.”

WATCH BELOW: Halifax drivers react to August gas shortage.

The opposition is criticizing the Liberals for not taking a more active role during the shortage.

“It’s pretty clear now that the government didn’t actually take any steps to find out what was going on. They treat it more of a communications issue then an emergency,” said Jamie Baillie, PC Leader.

Government says they are working to implement the key findings in the report. Since the shortage, Imperial has also increased their safety stock of fuel and is allowing more transit time for vessels.

“I don’t think we say in here it can never happen again. I think we’re saying it’s highly unlikely. I think it’s wrong to say it will never happen again,” added Keefe.

 

Municipal impact

The panel looked into what contingency plans service providers had in light of the fuel shortage.

Municipal police services indicated they were not negatively impacted by the shortage, but the report does say an outage beyond the three days would affect the police’s ability to provide service to the public.

WATCH BELOW: Nova Scotia feels effects of gas shortages.

Some police services told the panel that during the shortage they put measures in place to conserve fuel, like operating with two police officers in one car as opposed to patrolling in two car. They also utilized more foot and bicycle patrols.

READ MORE: Effects of gas shortage still being felt in Halifax even as pumps are replenished

The RCMP indicated in the report that the fuel shortage presented a low to moderate impact on their operations across the province.

The panel also met with personnel from the Department of Health and Wellness. EHS says locating gasoline became a major challenge on the third day of the shortage.

Employees were on the phones calling stations across the province to try and find gas. EHS management put measures in place to conserve fuel wherever possible by not idling vehicles and positioning vehicles in strategic locations.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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