VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – The British Columbia government announced on Friday that it is limiting the amount of fuel that people can …
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – The British Columbia government announced on Friday that it is limiting the amount of fuel that people can buy at gas stations in some parts of the province, and limiting unnecessary travel as highways begin to reopen after violent rain that caused floods and mudslides.
Provincial Secretary of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said non-essential vehicles will be limited to about 8 gallons (30 gallons) per gallon. trip to the gas station. The order is expected to last until December 1st.
“These steps will keep commercial traffic moving, stabilize our supply chains and ensure everyone gets home safely,” Farnworth told a news conference. “We ask people not to travel through severely affected areas for the sake of their own well-being, but also to ensure that the fuel we have goes to the services people need in this time of crisis.”
Environment Canada says 24 BC communities received close to four inches (100 millimeters) of rain from Saturday to Monday.
The precautionary closure of the Trans Mountain Pipeline during the floods has raised concerns about fuel shortages in the province’s lower mainland and Vancouver Island. Assessments of the pipeline continue.
Farnworth said police will not patrol gas stations to ensure customers comply with the new restrictions.
“The majority of British Colombians want to do the right thing,” he said. “If we’re greedy, we’ll fail. It’s that simple.”
The government has also banned unnecessary travel on sections of multiple highways.
Transport Minister Rob Fleming said vehicles transporting important products or providing vital services can use the highways. The same can people who return to their primary residences after being stranded.
“It’s not open to recreational or unnecessary travel,” he said.
Fleming said the highways between Vancouver and Hope and from Hope to Princeton had been opened to vehicles.
“This will re-establish a vital connection that allows for the movement of essential goods and services,” he said.
A section of the motorway near Pemberton where a person has been confirmed dead in a landslide sweeping vehicles off a road and a search continues after four people believed to be missing could be open by Sunday.
Fleming thanked the federal government for announcing “some very useful measures” to detain BC truckers traveling to the United States
The United States is temporarily relaxing some permit requirements so that BC trucks can cross into the state of Washington and then drive into Canada again past the damaged highways.
Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said 959 farms remain under an evacuation order and that 50,656 acres (20,500 acres) continue to be affected by the flood.
Also, 35 veterinarians, many from Alberta, are on standby to help the province.
Fleming said there is no timeline for when temporary and permanent repairs will be completed on the highways or estimates of what the cost will be.
“It’s going to be very, very important,” he said.
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