Several people stood at overpasses along Highway 1 through Hope to show support to a convoy of logging truck drivers from across B.C. who were heading into Vancouver on Sept. 25, 2019. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

VIDEO: Logging truck convoy stalls traffic in downtown Vancouver to protest job losses

Truckers from Merritt, Quesnel, Prince George and more converge at UBCM convention

More than 100 semi trucks arrived in downtown Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon to draw attention to B.C.’s forestry workers struggling in the face of significant job losses.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Vancouver Convention Centre to watch the trucks loop a section of the downtown core. High log prices and a declining timber supply have prompted several recent mill curtailments and closures in B.C., affecting thousands of workers.

The convoy began in the wee hours, leaving Prince George and stopping to pick up truckers in Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile, Merritt and Hope, on their way to the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual convention.

The drivers were met with dozens of supporters as they drove through communities impacted by recent mill closures, honking as people waved from the roadside.

The trucks, many with flags and handpainted banners, pulled up to Hope at about 1 p.m.

Several people gathered on overpasses over Highway 1 to cheer them on.

“You get to hear everything they’re going through there,” said Shari Stephens, who works at the Flying J Truck Stop in Hope, as she waved at the trucks passing underneath the overpass.

In Vancouver, Stuey Wheeler, who owns a logging equipment business in Delta, was out with his family to cheer on the convoy.

“We have about three builds left in the shop but after that we don’t really have anything on the books,” he told Black Press Media.

READ MORE: ‘It’s hurting everybody’: Langley family worries about their business amid logging downturn

The convoy members are calling for an immediate change to stumpage rates in B.C., which are based on what companies pay for logs through BC Timber Sales, and to bring back an agreement that ties timber in a given region to specific sawmills.

A spokesperson for the province said Forests Minister Doug Donaldson and Parliamentary Secretary Ravi Kahlon, who is the MLA for Delta North, were meeting with convoy leaders Wednesday afternoon.

‘We’re all getting hit hard’: Cariboo loggers to join truck rally and protest job losses

The B.C. government announced early retirement and training funds for out-of-work loggers, in part by transferring from money a fund meant to spur economic diversification in rural communities.

– with files from Jessica Peters and Ashley Wadhwani

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Several people stood at overpasses along Highway 1 through Hope to show support to a convoy of logging truck drivers from across B.C. who were heading into Vancouver on Sept. 25, 2019. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

Several people stood at overpasses along Highway 1 through Hope to show support to a convoy of logging truck drivers from across B.C. who were heading into Vancouver on Sept. 25, 2019. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

Several people stood at overpasses along Highway 1 through Hope to show support to a convoy of logging truck drivers from across B.C. who were heading into Vancouver on Sept. 25, 2019. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

Doug Miller, of Kamloops, steps down from the cab of his truck after he arrived in a convoy of logging trucks in downtown Vancouver, on Wednesday September 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

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