A bus load of forest industry supporters and a convoy of logging trucks set off from Campbell River Tuesday morning to attend a rally at the B.C. legislature in Victoria.
The mood was subdued as befit an 8 a.m. kick off but things will pick up later as the B.C. Forestry Alliance-organized rally will congregate at the B.C. Parliament building to deliver a petition calling for the creation of a “working forest” designation as well as create awareness of the importance of forestry to the province, particularly in rural communities.
The rally is set to begin at 12:30 in Victoria and include speakers delivering the message that the working forest must be protected.
The petition that will be delivered was started by a group of concerned forestry professionals with roots in Campbell River and the North Island.
“The forests of B.C. are a renewable resource and we ask that the remaining harvestable land base be protected as ‘The Working Forest,’ to be defined and dedicated to the purpose of harvesting and economic activities for the sustainable future of our families, our communities and the province,” the petition says.
This will be the third time logging trucks have gathered for a rally in six months, this time it is heading for the B.C. legislature as politicians prepare for the NDP government budget.
The B.C. Forestry Alliance rolled more than 100 logging trucks into downtown Vancouver last September to send a message to Premier John Horgan at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention. Now they’re calling for another run to Victoria to deliver a petition calling for “working forest” designation along with growing parks and protected areas.
The intent of this rally is being confused with the Western Forest Products and United Steelworkers eight-month strike that was concluded last week. Many people wonder what the purpose of this rally is in light of that settlement. But the rally is not connected to the strike and focuses on the broader issues of timber supply and forest industry support.
– With files from Tom Fletcher/Black Press