Salt Spring Island was temporarily out of all grades of gasoline at both of its gas stations Monday mid-day, with Mid-Island Co-op receiving a refill on a special BC Ferries sailing Monday afternoon.
Co-op general manager Joel Shaver said their expected delivery of gas from Vancouver Island last Thursday did not arrive, due to the cancellation of a dangerous goods sailing from Crofton to Vesuvius Bay.
“Without trucks on Thursday, we would never make it all the way to Monday,” he explained, as storage capacity is limited.
The cancellation was a result of weight restrictions imposed on that route Thursday for safety reasons. A planned inspection at the Crofton ferry terminal mid-day Thursday found two to three dock pilings showing signs of deterioration. Contractors drove new pilings on Saturday and Monday nights to correct the ramp damage.
As a result, commercial vehicles with single axles over 9,100 kilograms and tandem axles over 7,500 kilograms were told to take the alternate Swartz Bay to Fulford Harbour route and the dangerous goods sailings on the route last Thursday and this Monday were cancelled.
Noor Sidhu at Ganges Gas said that their gas station received their Wednesday shipment as planned, before the issue with the Crofton dock was discovered. Yet with Co-op running out of gas over the weekend, Ganges Gas ended up with non-stop line ups during the busy weekend with visitors and locals attending the Gulf Islands Secondary School graduation and other events.
It was not possible to sustain the fuel needs of islanders and visitors with one station’s supply alone, and by Monday mid-day both stations were completely out of all grades of gasoline, except for diesel.
The Salt Spring Island Emergency Program urged islanders to limit travel to conserve fuel, and reminded residents to “always maintain a half full tank to be ready for emergencies.”
As of Monday at 4 p.m., Co-op was once again supplying gasoline to the community thanks to a special dangerous goods sailing BC Ferries provided from Swartz Bay to Long Harbour. Ganges Gas is expected to begin pumping gas by Wednesday mid-day, when they receive their regular shipment.
BC Ferries informed travellers that the dock maintenance had been completed and commercial vehicles were once again able to travel on the route as of 6 a.m. Tuesday.