Shoppers in BC’s Okanagan worry about food shortages during floods, highway closures

With the interior of British Columbia now cut off from Vancouver due to flood and consequent highway closures, the truck industry has stalled.

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

“I was wondering why there were so many shelves with empty seats. There were many,” Darlene Wilkinson said after her weekly shop on Safeway in Kelowna.

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Reopening the Coquihalla Highway could take “weeks or months” due to flooding

So many shelves began to be emptied that it was eerily reminiscent of the early stages of COVID-19 pandemic, with minimal dairy and products.

Global News checked in at a number of major grocery stores in Kelowna. No one was able to talk about the supply problems, but inside, some of the shelves were already bare, and many think it will get worse before it gets better.

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Click to play video: 'Floods, roller coasters force major BC motorway closures'

Floods, landslides force major BC highway closures

Floods, landslides force major BC highway closures

Nowhere were the efforts to supply themselves more evident than in Kelowna’s Great Canadian Superstore.

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

Still, it seemed that consumer confidence is that the supply chain will bend and not break under load.

“I think governments are very concerned about it, and I think they will physically do anything to get it fixed, right? I mean, people should eat, right?” said Wilkinson.

A number of grocery stores are looking at alternative avenues for rebuilding shelves. Until then, everyone urges patience.

Read more:

‘No Highways to Get Me Home’: More than 100 truck drivers trapped in Merritt, BC due to flooding

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Several roads have been closed due to floods, landslides or washed-out bridges, including sections of Highway 1, Highway 3, Highway 5, Highway 11, Highway 91 and Highway 99.

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

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

“We fully recognize the importance right now in British Columbia of reopening the road links from the lower mainland to the interior to get the supply chains running again,” Fleming said.

– with files from The Canadian Press

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

Shoppers warned of supply chain problems

Shoppers warned of supply chain problems

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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