Update on BC Flooding and Severe Weather Impacts
Updated – November 30, 2021
Throughout November, flooding and slides triggered by heavy rainfall damaged several key highways and railways connecting the Lower Mainland to the rest of the province, flooded several communities, and resulted in a provincial state of emergency being declared.
Beyond devastating several communities, the damage also severed vital supply chain routes throughout BC, creating challenges with getting goods and materials in and out of our region.
In the time since the storm, on your behalf the Burnaby Board of Trade has met with senior government officials, including the Ministers of Transportation, Public Safety, and Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, to get updates and to urge a rapid response to the supply chain disruption. We have also met with private sector stakeholders representing key aspects of our supply chain to get more information for you:
Supply Chain – Highways
Work has been continuing in assessing, repairing and clearing the various roads impacted by the severe weather.
For the latest details on road closures and road conditions, visit DriveBC. Even the recently re-opened routes are subject to further closures or weather impacts.
For a summary of major road advisories, visit TranBC, the website for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
A route to the interior has been reopened for goods movement and people travelling for essential purposes only, using Highway 7 and Highway 3.
Highway 99 has also reopened for essential travel, but only for regular passenger vehicles under 14,500 kilograms. Commercial transport should use Highway 3.
These routes are open for essential travel only, which includes commercially transporting goods, and should not be used for recreation or non-essential purposes. Details on the essential travel order >
Highway 5 (Coquihalla) remains closed, and the provincial government announced temporary repairs would take many weeks, and full repairs would take many months.
Supply Chain – Port and Rail
Beyond the highway system, rail corridors were also impacted by flooding and slides.
The Port of Vancouver is a Burnaby Board of Trade member and they have reported to us that they have remained fully operational during this time, but did face significantly disrupted rail and truck movement. As of November 30, the Port has reported that both CP and CN eastbound and westbound trains are operating on CP’s mainline between Vancouver and Kamloops, but that CN’s rail lines are still in the process of repair and closure.
Until December 14 at midnight, restrictions have been put in place on the purchase of fuel in Burnaby and across Southwestern BC in light of supply disruptions. If you are not operating an essential vehicle, you are limited to purchasing 30 litres of fuel per trip to the gas station. Essential vehicles do not face limits. Details on the fuel restrictions
Burnaby is home to both Transmountain and Parkland, two key parts of our fuel supply. Both are members of the Burnaby Board of Trade and we have been in contact with them during this time.
Parkland operates the Burnaby Refinery which is responsible for a quarter of vehicle fuel in our region. As the refinery utilizes the Transmountain pipeline, which is currently shut down, the refinery has been put on pause.
BBOT member Transmountain, which operates the Burnaby pipeline that delivers oil to the west coast, shut down its pipeline in advance of the storm as a voluntary precaution. As of November 29, Transmountain reported that the line was still shut down amid assessments and efforts to ensure a safe restart could occur, which was estimated as still “days away”.
Donations and Support
Several members have contacted us about ways they can help the relief and response efforts. Two organizations are outlined below as suggestions:
BBOT member The United Way of BC has created the United for BC Flood Response Fund to raise funds to assist with critical relief and recovery efforts. More info >
Our colleagues at the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce have established the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund in concert with the Abbotsford Foundation and the University of the Fraser Valley to support front-line agencies providing essential services to affected families and businesses. More info >