A convoy of as many as 200 logging trucks is making its way from the B.C. Interior to Vancouver on Wednesday as owners and drivers highlight the effects from dozens of mill closures and thousands of layoffs in British Columbia’s forest industry.
Convoy participants travelled to Merritt, where the long line of trucks began heading south to Vancouver on the Coquihalla Highway for the 300-kilometres trip.
The convoy is being escorted by police to downtown Vancouver, where local and provincial politicians are gathered for the annual Union of BC Municipalities convention.
Merritt business owners and log haulers Howard McKimmon and Frank Etchart are organizing the convoy and say participants have come from all parts of the province. McKimmon said they have lost work because sawmill closures mean they are no longer needed to carry logs to the mills.
He said the effect of the forest industry downturn is widespread, disrupting businesses from barbers to grocery stores and everything in between.
“Forest-based communities depend on forestry jobs,” McKimmon said. Small-town B.C. is dying, he said, noting he is calling for changes to the stumpage system to revive the industry.