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Shoppers in B.C.’s Okanagan worry about food shortages amid floods, highway closures

Click to play video: 'Okanagan shoppers worry about supply chain issues after highway closures'
Okanagan shoppers worry about supply chain issues after highway closures
With the Interior of British Columbia now cut off from Vancouver because of highway closures, the trucking industry has come to a complete stand still. And it didn't take long for consumers in the Okanagan to become concerned about the supply chain and whether it can stand up to mother nature – Nov 16, 2021

With the Interior of British Columbia now cut off from Vancouver because of flooding and resulting highway closures, the trucking industry has come to a standstill.

As a result, the casual consumer out for a few groceries Tuesday morning got a bit of a shock.

“I wondered why there were so many shelves that had blank spaces. There were a lot,” said Darlene Wilkinson after her weekly shop at Safeway in Kelowna.

Read more: Reopening of Coquihalla Highway could take ‘weeks or months’ due to flood damage

So many shelves were starting to empty that it was eerily reminiscent of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, with minimal dairy and produce.

Global News checked in with a number of major grocery stores in Kelowna. No one was able to speak to the supply issues, but inside, some of the shelves were already bare and many think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

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Click to play video: 'Flooding, slides force major B.C. highway closures'
Flooding, slides force major B.C. highway closures

Nowhere was the effort to stock up more apparent than at Kelowna’s Great Canadian Superstore.

The lineup for the cashiers on Tuesday morning stretched all the way down on one side to the back and all the way across the store to the other side.

Still, consumer confidence appeared to be that the supply chain will bend and not break under the strain.

“I think that the governments are very concerned about it and I think that physically they will do everything possible to get it fixed, right? I mean, people have to eat, right?” Wilkinson said.

A number of grocery stores are looking at alternative routes for restocking shelves. Until then, everyone is urging patience.

Read more: ‘No highways to get me home’: More than 100 truckers trapped in Merritt, B.C. due to floods

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Multiple roads have been closed because of flooding, landslides or washed-out bridges, including sections of Highway 1, Highway 3, Highway 5, Highway 11, Highway 91 and Highway 99.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming told a news conference on Tuesday that Highway 3 is likely to be the quickest route to reopen, possibly by the end of the weekend.

However, damage to Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon as well as the Coquihalla Highway is so extreme that geotechnical assessments won’t be possible until conditions are drier, he said.

“We fully recognize how important it is right now in British Columbia to reopen the road connections from the Lower Mainland to the Interior to get supply chains moving again,” Fleming said.

– with files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video: 'Shoppers warned about supply chain issues'
Shoppers warned about supply chain issues

 

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