Aldergrove came out to support a convoy of semi trucks as they drove their point and drew attention to B.C.’s forestry workers struggling in the face of significant job losses.
Hundreds of semi trucks arrived in downtown Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon after travelling west on Highway One, gaining steam along the way.
Semi trucks started in Prince George and stopped to pick up truckers in Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile, Merritt, Hope, and even Langley, on their way to the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual convention.
Aldergrove resident Elaine Daoust stood on the 264th Street overpass with her sister Jacquie Young as droves of truckers, many sporting flags on their rigs, responded with a thank-you in the form of honks.
“The overpass was full,” Daoust said. Supporters stood on the overpass and waved Canada, B.C., and other welcoming flags to truckers as they passed by below.
The convoy brought traffic at the 264th exit “to a halt” for over ten minutes Daoust described in a video.
Daoust’s son used to work in the logging industry in Quesnel, and has been impacted by recent industry downturns.
The convoy members are calling for an immediate change to stumpage rates in B.C., which are based on what companies pay for logs through BC Timber Sales, and to bring back an agreement that ties timber in a given region to specific sawmills.
The drivers were met with dozens of supporters as they drove through other communities impacted by recent mill closures, honking as people waved from the roadside.
A spokesperson for the province said Forests Minister Doug Donaldson and Parliamentary Secretary Ravi Kahlon, who is the MLA for Delta North, met with convoy leaders in Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon.
The B.C. government announced early retirement and training funds for out-of-work loggers, in part by transferring from money a fund meant to spur economic diversification in rural communities.
– with files from Jessica Peters and The Canadian Press