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Province urges people to not hoard as Abbotsford store shelves begin to empty

Gas station lines lengthen as concerns mount over supply issue
A gas station in Chilliwack reported that it’s out of gas Wednesday afternoon. (Jenna Hauck photo)

In the aftermath of a catastrophic flood that has washed away trucking and rail routes, the province is urging people to not hoard food and supplies as the contents of store shelves start to thin out.

Abbotsford grocery stores and gas stations were busy Wednesday afternoon as concerns heightened around a possible supply shortage.

Shelves containing toilet paper, bread, milk were starting to look bare by about 1 p.m. at the Abbotsford Superstore.

While there seemed to be some panic buying, people at the store suggested they weren’t concerned.

SEE ALSO: Abbotsford police warn to stay away from evacuation zones and out of ‘toxic water’ from floods

“No, not at all,” said Charles Hughes, who had purchased a few items from the Superstore. “People will panic, I know. You can’t do much about it.”

Pargat Gill, who also purchased a few items, including two cases of water, echoed Hughes.

“I don’t think it will stay for that long, the shortage,” Gill said.

A potential gas shortage has also been a concern for some B.C. residents. Some gas stations in Victoria and Chilliwack, for example, had run out of fuel by Wednesday afternoon.

A few men filling up their truck at Husky (34515 Old Yale Rd.) said they weren’t concerned about a possible gas shortage. However, two men said they decided to fill up their truck because their wives suggested there might be a supply issue.

“I’ve been needing to fill up all weekend and my wife asked me to fill up just in case,” said Richard Tarenta.

Tarenta, who lives in Abbotsford but is a nurse in the U.S., hasn’t been able to go to work due to the flood. He expects he’ll soon be able to cross U.S. border.

Tarenta said the thought of filling up a couple Jerry cans, just in case, did cross his mind.

“I was like, you know what, I don’t want to be that one guy who’s going to the store to stock up on toilet paper,” Tarenta said.

SEE ALSO: Chilliwack residents being flown to Abbotsford for dialysis treatment

At an emergency press conference Wednesday, Premier John Horgan declared a state of emergency. The measure gives the province extraordinary powers to deal with not only hoarding, but price gouging as well.

Public Safely Minister Mike Farnworth urged B.C. residents to remain calm and not panic shop.

“There are many areas where there are not disruptions and goods are able to flow. Getting our roadways and rail back up and in operation is our number one priority,” Farnworth said.

“The Minister of Transportation will provide whatever resources are necessary to make that happen.”

Farnworth complimented the BC Trucking Association and CN Rail for quickly finding solutions.

“The BC Trucking Association has been hugely supportive of our efforts to find alternate routes, as well as working with the province and the federal government, who are helping to facilitate goods movement through the United States that would otherwise be impacted by events in the Lower Mainland.”

With respect to a potential gas shortage, Farnworth said the province is working closely with distributors and transportation companies in finding new routes, if necessary.

Shelves at the Abbotsford Superstore started to thin Wednesday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)

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