British Columbia is implementing two new orders under the Emergency Program Act in order to stabilize fuel supplies in B.C. and keep major roads clear for essential travel only. The order comes as the province grapples with supply chain disruptions due to devastating flooding,
The general public in Metro Vancouver, on Vancouver Island and other parts of southwestern B.C., are being restricted to only 30 litres of gas per visit at a gas station.
It does not apply to the Interior.
Under the new provincial order, essential vehicles will have unrestricted access to fuel as required, using predominately commercial trucking gas stations.
“These steps will keep commercial traffic moving, stabilize our supply chains and make sure everyone gets home safely. We are asking people not to travel through severely affected areas – for their own well-being, but also to make sure the fuel we do have goes toward the services people need in this time of crisis.”
British Columbia is working with other jurisdictions to increase the supply of gas into the province. Additional supplies are coming from Alberta, as well as from Washington, Oregon and California. The fuel will come by barge and by road.
The Trans Mountain pipeline has been damaged and there is a reduced flow of product coming through the pipeline. The company says it may be up and running by the end of next week.
The province has also announced measures to restrict non-essential travel to and from impacted areas.
Highway 99, Highway 3 and Highway 7 will be open to essential travel only.
These new orders are effective immediately, until Dec. 1, 2021, and apply to all fuel suppliers in the Lower Mainland-to-Hope region, the Sea-to-Sky region, Sunshine Coast, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.
The province will be working with gas retailers and distributors to implement this order to make sure people are not exceeding their allotted limit per trip.
Anyone who is abusive, threatening or belligerent to gas station workers can be subject to a fine under the order.
“When our province is faced with an emergency, British Columbians step up,” Farnworth said. “We have a steady supply of gas to support all our essential vehicles and we will get through these restrictions together by staying calm, only buying what we need and looking out for each other. These measures are necessary during temporary shortages as work is under way to re-establish B.C.’s fuel supply.”
Under the order, retail gas stations and wholesale distributors will be prohibited from profit-margin price gouging and people will be prohibited from buying gas for the purpose of reselling it.
“The overwhelming majority of people will do the right thing. But if we don’t over the next 10 to 11 days, we will fail. If we do this right we will succeed. If we are greedy we will fail,” Farnworth said.
The order does not affect natural gas or heating oil used to heat homes.
There is a long list of vehicles that are not capped at 30 litres.
- Emergency service vehicles (fire, police, ambulance and health care including urgent medical treatment)
- Public transit vehicles
- Commercial transport trucks – critical goods and services (food and beverage, health care, safety)
- Refrigerated trucks
- Potable water delivery/wastewater service
- Grocery delivery
- Road repair, maintenance and recovery vehicles/tow trucks
- Military vehicles
- Critical infrastructure, construction and repair vehicles
- Home-care workers
- Municipal services vehicles
- First Nations government services vehicles
- BC Ferries/Coast Guard/tugboats/marine emergency/pilot boats
- Canada Post and other couriers/package delivery vehicles
- Vehicles for the provision of critical government services
- Airport authority vehicles and air travel
- Waste disposal/recycling
- BC Hydro, Fortis and other heavy-duty and light-duty utility vehicles
- Telecommunication repair and installation vehicles
- Fuel delivery trucks and boats
- School buses
- Agricultural and farm-use vehicles, including vehicles supporting flood response
- Veterinarians supporting flood response
- Inter-city buses
Meanwhile, four people are confirmed missing following the deadly mudslide on Highway 99-Duffey Lake Road earlier this week.
One woman from the Lower Mainland died in the slide, and RCMP said Thursday that they expect more fatalities.
All four missing people are related to that slide area north of Pemberton, police added.
B.C. officials have said it will still be “an extended period of time” before the province’s damaged highways will be open.
Repairs to the Coquihalla Highway, connecting B.C.’s Lower Mainland and the Interior, are expected to take months.