A Langley family is worried that recent downturns in the logging industry could spell disaster for their business.
Stuey Wheeler and his family were out in front of the Vancouver Convention Centre Wednesday afternoon to show their support for a convoy of logging trucks from Interior B.C.
“We have a family business in Delta, we build logging equipment,” Wheeler, who operates Wheeler Equipment, told Black Press Media.
“We have about three builds left in the shop but after that we don’t really have anything on the books. It’s a province-wide slowdown so it’s hurting everybody.”
More than 200 logging trucks made their way to Vancouver to call for immediate changes to stumpage rates in B.C., which are based on the prices that companies pay for logs through BC Timber Sales, and bring back appurtenancy – an agreement that ties timber in a given region to specific sawmills.
Wheeler said that while he’d leave it to politicians to work out specific policy, something needed to be done amid the downturn in the province’s logging industry.
B.C. has seen four mills permanently close in the Interior this year, putting as many as 700 workers out of a job. There have been a further 13 indefinite closures which has impacted an estimated 1,000 workers, as well as hundreds more impacted due to curtailments.
“If they lowered stumpage rates and got rid of the fee-in-lieu tax on our own wood leaving the province, [then] maybe a lot of the jobs that got shut down this summer would come back.”