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B.C. lifts gas rationing but extends state of emergency once again

Click to play video: 'B.C. extends provincial state of emergency again due to historic flooding'
B.C. extends provincial state of emergency again due to historic flooding
B.C.'s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Monday the government is extending the provincial state of emergency until Dec. 28, 2021, to help provide support and funding to those who remain out of their homes due to the historic flooding that took place in November. Farnworth also said gas rationing in parts of the province will be lifted on Dec. 14 – Dec 13, 2021

B.C. is extending its provincial state of emergency once again as residents continue to clean up and rebuild from November’s historic flooding.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Monday the state of emergency will be in effect until Dec. 28.

It’s the third state of emergency in the province this year, Farnworth added, due to COVID-19 and the wildfires.

Click to play video: 'Good news on gas rationing and progress on Coquihalla highway repairs'
Good news on gas rationing and progress on Coquihalla highway repairs

“When we reflect on the past year, we have been through so much,” he said.

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The minister had some good news, however, as the fuel restriction in place since Nov. 19 is set to lift on Tuesday.

Farnworth thanked everyone for adhering to the 30-litre limit at the pumps, allowing essential vehicles to access more fuel.

“The people of British Columbia stepped up. Everyone played their part and for that, I want to thank you,” Farnworth said.

Click to play video: 'First look at Coquihalla repairs'
First look at Coquihalla repairs

As of last week, around $12 million had been distributed to help evacuees rebuild, he added, but many will remain out of their homes for weeks to come.

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Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said he is in awe of B.C.’s road builders, who are working around the clock to rebuild splintered highways.

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He expects to have an update on the heavily-damaged Coquihalla Highway on Wednesday and said there’s hope crews will be able to reopen it before early January, meaning Highway 3 could reopen to non-essential travel.

Highway 3 remains closed to non-essential travel but 116 speeding tickets have been issued along that highway in December alone, Fleming added.

He said some extra flights have also been added between Kelowna and Abbotsford in an effort to help keep people off the roads.

Click to play video: 'Calls to work fish habitat into flood protections'
Calls to work fish habitat into flood protections

Meanwhile, the weather remains an issue as people continue to clean up from the previous flooding events.

Environment Canada has issued special weather statements for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, forecasting up to five centimetres of snow Monday night but mainly at higher elevations.

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In addition, wintry weather is about to set in throughout the Southern Interior, Environment Canada said in a special weather statement issued Monday.

The national weather agency said a low-pressure centre will develop over B.C. Southern Interior From Monday night to Tuesday morning.

READ MORE: Highway 3 closed for hours eastbound near Princeton due to ‘spun-out commercial vehicles’

“Combined with the unstable airmass in place, there is potential for intense bands of snow,” reads the weather statement.

“Snowfall up to 15 centimetres is possible. Snow amounts will vary across the region.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. evening weather forecast: Dec. 12 Abstract:'
B.C. evening weather forecast: Dec. 12 Abstract:
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Parts of B.C.’s already struggling tourism industry have been hard hit by the flooding.

With major highways still closed or restricted to essential travel only, some attractions, hotels and landmarks will not see the holiday traffic they would see in other years.

Walt Judas, CEO of the B.C. Tourism Association, said the extent of the damage is still unclear but some short-term impacts have already been felt.

READ MORE: Repairs underway on Coquihalla Highway, officials confident with January reopening timeline

“It’s difficult to assess the damage of any specific asset, but having said that, we know without access to places like the Okanagan or points in between, that’s really hurt a lot of tourism businesses,” he told The Canadian Press.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to correct an error in the number of tickets issued along Highway 3 in December.

 

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