Logging truck convoy drives home message about dire state of B.C. forest industry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Logging truck convoy drives home message about dire state of B.C. forest industry

September 25, 2019 - 8:30 AM

MERRITT, B.C. - A convoy of as many as 200 logging trucks is to arrive in Vancouver Wednesday as owners and drivers highlight the effects from dozens of mill closures and thousands of layoffs in British Columbia's forest industry.

The convoy will begin in Merritt, nearly 300 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

It will be escorted by police to downtown Vancouver where local and provincial politicians are gathered for the annual Union of B.C. 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 says they have lost work because sawmill closures mean they are no longer needed to carry logs to the mills.

He says 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 says.

He says small-town B.C. is dying and he's calling for changes to the stumpage system to revive the industry.

Currently, stumpage fees are paid annually by businesses cutting timber on Crown-owned land.

Critics say if the fee was calculated more frequently, it might more accurately reflect the type and amount of wood being cut, potentially reducing costs for lumber companies.

The convoy was due to set out at 9 a.m. for the roughly three-hour drive to Vancouver.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Sept. 25, 2019.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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