School districts and sport leagues on Vancouver Island reduce gas use

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A number of Vancouver Island organizations have taken measures to reduce gas consumption in light of the supply issues facing B.C.’s southwest.

It comes as the Trans Mountain pipeline remains out of commission and a Lower Mainland gas refinery has paused for lack of crude oil.

But in Nanaimo, you may be hard-pressed to realize there are gas restrictions.

Gas stations are a little busier, mainly due to the 30-litre purchase maximum set by the government.

“I kind of don’t like stopping to get gas so having to stop a couple of times a week is a little inconvenient, but that’s about it,” said Ryan DeClark, a driver.

On the flip side is the situation on the South Island, where many stations are running dry. However, some good news is on the horizon for drivers.

On Monday, CP Rail resumed service and CN Rail said it will be restoring limited rail service Wednesday.

However, the Trans Mountain Pipeline remains closed, the longest shutdown in its nearly 70-year history, with plans to restart it by the end of the week leaving the Parkland refinery in Burnaby on pause.

Economic experts say the pressure is coming off soon.

“This is much less concerning than it was 48 hours ago with this new information that the rail lines, in particular, are going to be back online in short order,” said Kent Fellows, an assistant economics professor with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.

Some regions are taking extra steps to decrease fuel usage. The Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Sooke School Districts are cancelling in-person meetings and encouraging staff to carpool among other measures.

“Even though we are an essential service and we are exempt from the provincial order, I think that it is important that we be a leader in the community and show our students especially the next generation that we’re taking this very seriously,” said Dale Burgos, with the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District.

Other organizations such as Nanaimo United FC have suspended all out-of-town play until the end of the month.

A parent of a player in the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association is questioning why their league isn’t also cancelling or postponing games this weekend some involving travel to Port McNeill, but the league’s president says after the Malahat closure led to cancelled games last weekend it can’t afford to lose more games.

“Seems that the parents that are doing the most complaining are in our two cities. They just want to play teams in their own city but that works well for the City of Victoria, but what do you do with Sooke? What do you do with Kerry Park? What do you do with Lake Cowichan?” said Jim Humphrey, the league’s president.

Humphrey said he is urging parents to carpool or use busses to reduce their gas consumption to attend games this weekend.

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