Canadian province imposes gas and travel restrictions after flooding

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – The British Columbia government announced Friday that it is limiting the amount of fuel people can buy at gas stations in parts of the province and restrict non-essential travel while that the highways begin to reopen following torrential rains that caused flooding and mudslides.

Provincial Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said non-essential vehicles will be limited to about 8 gallons (30 liters) per trip to the gas station. The order is expected to last until December 1.

“These measures will keep commercial traffic moving, stabilize our supply chains and ensure that everyone comes home safely,” Farnworth said at a press conference. “We ask people not to travel to severely affected areas, for their own well-being, but also to ensure that the fuel we have is used for the services people need in this time of crisis. “

Environment Canada says 24 communities in British Columbia received nearly four inches (100 millimeters) of rain from Saturday to Monday.

The preventative shutdown of the Trans Mountain pipeline during the flooding raised concerns about a fuel shortage in the province’s Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island. Assessments of the pipeline are continuing.

Farnworth said police would not patrol gas stations to ensure customers comply with the new restrictions.

“The majority of British Columbians will do the right thing,” he said. “If we are greedy, we will fail. It’s simple.

The government has also banned non-essential travel on sections of several highways.

Transport Minister Rob Fleming said vehicles carrying essential goods or providing essential services can use the highways. The same goes for people who return to their primary residence after being stranded.

“It is not open to recreational or non-essential travel,” he said.

Fleming said the freeways between Vancouver and Hope and Hope to Princeton had been opened to vehicles.

“This will restore a vital link allowing the flow of essential goods and services,” he said.

A section of the freeway near Pemberton, where one person is confirmed dead in a landslide that swept vehicles off a road and where searches continue for four people believed to be missing, may be open to ‘here Sunday.

Fleming thanked the federal government for announcing “some very useful measures” to speed up the road for truckers from British Columbia to the United States

The United States is temporarily relaxing some permit requirements so trucks from British Columbia can pass through Washington state and then re-enter Canada after damaged highways.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said 959 farms were still under evacuation orders and 50,656 acres (20,500 hectares) remained affected by the flooding.

In addition, 35 veterinarians, many from Alberta, are ready to help the province.

Fleming said there is no timeline for when temporary and permanent repairs will be completed on the highways or cost estimates.

“It’s going to be very, very important,” he said.

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