A truck convoy down to Vancouver to protest forestry job losses is quickly gaining momentum in the Interior and northern B.C.
On Wednesday, truckers will leave Prince George at 2 a.m., stop in Quesnel, Williams Lake, Merritt and Hope to pick up more truckers, then meet in Vancouver for a provincial demonstration at the Union of BC Municipalities annual convention.
“It’s pretty disheartening that no one else is stepping up to help us. We’ve got nothing,” said Tracy Ilnicki, a longtime logging company owner in Williams Lake whose 25-year-old son, Jorden, is helping to organize the event.
Forestry workers in B.C. are struggling after several recent mill curtailments and closures, mostly driven by high log prices and dwindling timber supply.
Ilnicki said Williams Lake contractors have only worked a month since February.
He was forced to lay off his crew, who then had to go through a waiting period to collect employment insurance. Some are hopeful to return to work, but others, he said, have moved away because they are tired of the situation.
“We’re all getting hit hard by it — it’s got to end soon or it’s going to end this town. It’s affecting the whole community.”
Anywhere from 20 to 50 truckers in Williams Lake are expected to join the convoy, he said.
Said his son, Jorden: “Logging trucks, pickups, anyone and everyone are welcome and needed. Please spread the word, our communities need this.”
– with a file from The Canadian Press