Loggers and truckers timed their protest to coincide with the meeting of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. Photo Andrea DeMeer

Princeton mayor proud of forestry protesters

“It was a proud moment to see those trucks running through the city.”

That’s how Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne summed up the highlight of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference in Vancouver.

“When our loggers showed up and drivers, I think it really sent an important message…They are the backbone of B.C.”

Last Wednesday more than 200 truckers – independent contractors facing job losses due to cuts in the forest industry – convoyed through the province to meet municipal and provincial leaders at the annual event.

Coyne said he was able to meet with several protesters from the Princeton area.

Fifteen trucks rallied in Princeton at the Chevron parking lot before joining the movement.

“We have to support out communities,” said organizer Jordie Cook, before loggers hit the road. “This is a crisis.”

Related: Convoy of B.C. loggers and truckers protesting forest industry cuts spotted in Princeton

Cook fingered mill curtailments and stumpage fees as two of the biggest challenges facing loggers.

He said local contractors were shut down for eight weeks this summer, and that had ripple effects through the area’s economy.

Regional district Area H director Bob Coyne said “we all depend very deeply on the forest industry…they put a heck of a lot of money through our community.”

The director credited the efforts of Weyterhaeuser – which has 200 employees – with keeping jobs and opportunities open while so many mills around the province have closed.

Related: ‘It’s hurting everybody’: B.C. family shows support for logging truck convoy

“I can’t say enough good about our forest company here. And our loggers here are very professional. They do a heck of a good job and we need to support them and our forest company that keeps them working.”

Bob Coyne said he is disappointed with the province’s response so far to the worsening situation.

“We have a government that doesn’t have representation outside of the Lower Mainland and they need to know that we have issues. I don’t believe that our provincial government is aware of the issues that are happening in the Interior of B.C.. That’s my personal thought on it.”

Related: Weyerhaeuser focused on sustainability through provincial crisis in forest sector

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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