B.C. floods swamp building supply lines
November 23, 2021
evastated Highway 5, B.C.ís major transport artery, will take months to repair.| Government of B.C.
The already fragile supply chain of building materials has been cut off or curtailed across B.C. as a result of massive flooding in the province.
As of our press time, Vancouver was nearly totally without highway or rail lines in any direction—though a CP rail line was expected to be open soon, and two secondary highways are to be partially open (Highway 3 into the central interior and Highway 99 into northern B.C.).
The Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 5 (the Coquihalla)—the the main highways to and from the Port of Vancouver—remain closed by floods and mudslides, stranding or stalling hundreds of transport trucks.
While officials are not guessing when Highway 5 will reopen, Paula Cousins with the Ministry of Transportation says “temporary repairs are going to take months.”
Nothing impacts the residential construction industry as negatively as a shortage of building materials. The industry has been dealing with shortages since the onset of the pandemic—beginning with a low supply and soaring costs for lumber.
As of September 2021, long before B.C.’s supply chain was swamped, the year-over-year costs of construction in Canada had increased up to 4 per cent, according to Altus Group.
On November 19, the B.C. government began gas rationing and limiting purchases to 30 litres, until at least December 1. The Trans Mountain pipeline system, which supplies 300,000 barrels of oil per day to the Vancouver region, shut down four days during the extreme weather.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said these new measures are necessary to ensure the movement of "essential people, goods and services" as the province continues to deal with the flooding, mudslides and other impacts of this historic weather event.