Organizers of logging convoy meet with TNRD

The Merritt log haulers who organized a truck convoy in support of B.C.’s forestry industry were at the Thompson Nicola Regional District Thursday to continue advocacy efforts.

Frank Etchart and Howard McKimmom led a 17-kilometre-long convoy with 200 trucks and hundreds of other vehicles from Merritt to downtown Vancouver on Sept. 25, when politicians from throughout the province — including Kamloops — were meeting for the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

“Frank and I are prepared to take this to every community in British Columbia,” McKimmom told KTW.

“We will go to council for every small community in B.C. that’s affected. We’re set out to make every business and every person in every community aware of what’s happening.”

The pair are lobbying for changes to B.C.’s Forest Act, including reduced stumpage fees and timber supply tenure. They argue big companies should not be able to sell timber rights when they shut down in small communities.

Etchart noted the appurtenancy clause in the act was abolished in the early 2000s under the former Liberal government.

“Big companies are leaving town, shutting their mills down and taking their tender with them,” McKimmom said.

“That needs to remain behind for the community, revert back to the government. These companies don’t own the timber. They don’t really have a right to sell that to another company.”

The pair was “overwhelmed” by support in September and hope to continue shining a light on the industry’s importance in B.C.

“It’s no different than oil in Alberta,” he said. “And they’re taking our ability away to make a living.”

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