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Terry Glavin: The scale of the disaster unfolding in B.C. is unprecedented

Terry Glavin: The scale of the disaster unfolding in B.C. is unprecedented

The sheer damage to basic infrastructure caused by the flooding is catching everyone unprepared

VICTORIA — At some point in the coming days the penny will drop, and we’ll all be seized of the implications attending to the ongoing disaster on Canada’s west coast. First the rain, then the wind, and soon, everything will be freezing. For starters, if you think the Canadian economy is beset by global “supply chain” bottlenecks now, you just wait.

The Port of Vancouver, North Fraser, Fraser-Surrey Docks and Deltaport are now cut off from the rest of Canada, by road and by rail. Both CN Rail and CP Rail are assessing the extent of the damage to their rail lines in the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon districts. Neither company knows when the trains will be moving again.

The worst rail disruptions may last only a few days, but the Coquihalla Highway — the main road route connecting Metro Vancouver with British Columbia’s southern interior and points east, with roughly three-quarters of a million commercial truck transits every year — is gone. Deputy British Columbia Premier Mike Farnsworth says it may take “several weeks or months” to re-open the highway.

Owing to several washouts and mudslides, the old southerly route — Highway 3, snaking through the Cascades, Monashees and Selkirk mountains to the Crowsnest Pass in the Rockies — is impassable. The Fraser Canyon route, northward from Hope, about 130 kilometres east of Vancouver, has been smashed by rockslides and waterfalls that burst out of nowhere from the Coast mountains over the weekend.

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