BC government restricts gas purchases on Coast, limits some highway travel to 'essential' only

Gas restrictions on coast

UPDATE: 4:15 p.m.

The B.C. government is temporarily restricting the amount of gasoline people in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast can buy, while travel along the highways that are reopening has been restricted to essential travel only.

The two new orders were announced by Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth during a press conference Friday, to address some of the fallout from this week's massive storm that hit the province.

The gasoline order will limit the general public to 30 litres of gasoline per visit, while commercial and emergency vehicles filling up at cardlocks will not be impacted. Farnworth said police will not be enforcing the gasoline limit order.

The order impacts those living in Southwest B.C., west of Hope, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. The order does not impact Interior residents.

Farnworth said he expects the order to be in place over the next 10 to 11 days, while the province looks to source more gasoline from Alberta, Washington, Oregon and even California. He added the Trans Mountain pipeline is expected to be back up and running by the end of next week.

He said the order will ensure there is an adequate supply of gasoline for those who need it over the next week and a half.

"The majority of British Columbians in this province are going to do the right thing," Farnworth said. "If they know that 30 litres is what's going to keep our emergency vehicles running, that keep our supply chains open, that are going to ensure that all the goods and services that people are relying on operating over the next 10 to 11 days, they're going to do the right thing."

Farnworth announced a second order Friday, to limit travel on Highway 3 east of Hope, Highway 99 north of Pemberton, and Highway 7 west of Hope to essential travel only.

Minister of Transportation Rob Fleming says Highway 3 has been reopened Friday afternoon, but under the new order, only people transporting essential goods or returning back to their primary residence can use the highway.

"This will re-establish a vital link allowing for the movement of essential goods and services to and from the Lower Mainland," Fleming said.

"This connection along with Highway 7 from Agassiz to Hope, and then on to Highway 3 from Hope to the Interior, will be restricted to the travel terms in the order. That means that if you're transporting essential products or delivering vital services that we all rely on, you can use this corridor. If you've been cut off from your principal address this past week, you can drive home."

Highway 99 is expected to reopen Sunday, again for essential travel only.

Minister Farnworth said RCMP officers will be enforcing the non-essential travel ban on the three highways, and people breaching the order could be hit with a $2,000 fine.

UPDATE: 12:20 p.m.

The B.C. government's press conference has been once again delayed, now to 3:30 p.m.

It was initially scheduled for 11:30 a.m., then was pushed back to 12:15 p.m. An update is now expected later this afternoon.

ORIGINAL: 11:30 a.m.

The B.C. government's press conference to update residents about widespread flooding and mudslides across the province has been pushed back to 12:15 p.m.

The livestreamed update was initially scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., but it's been delayed.

The press conference will include Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming, Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham, as well as officials from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

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