Jill Hayward – North Thompson Star/Journal
A newly erected plaque on the bandshell in Barriere reads, “Logging Industry Worker’s Memorial, In memory of those who lost their lives as a result of their work in the forest industry. Forever free in the forest they share. Never forgotten. In gratitude to those who have fought to improve safety conditions for these workers.”
The unveiling ceremony took place on the National Day of Mourning, Thursday, Apr. 28, with just under 50 people attending.
“The Day of Mourning is marked annually as an important day to honour workers who have lost their lives or been injured because of their work,” Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod told those in attendance.
She noted that because we live in an area of the province where forestry is a major industry, job related deaths and injuries have touched many families over the years.
District of Barriere Mayor Virginia Smith stated, “British Columbia has a rich and vibrant labour history. Yet all too often the experiences of working people and their contributions individually and collectively to the building of this province are overlooked. Without working people, there simply would not be the B.C. we know today.
“It was Lynn and Harley Wright, who is here today representing the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, who have been the driving forces behind making this project a reality.”
She noted that the BC Labour Heritage Centre’s Remembering Working People: Plaques Around the Province project, coupled with the generosity of local sponsors (Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, United Steel Workers Local 7619, Gilbert Smith Forest Products, Tolko Industries Ltd., District of Barriere, and Kamloops and District Labour Council) enabled the creation of the plaque.
Harley Wright said, “I just thought it was time for us to recognize those who have lost their lives in the forest industry in the North Thompson, and especially the families who were impacted by these losses.”
He noted that there is plenty of room on the memorial to add the names of workers who lost their lives in the industry if families wish to do so.
“We just didn’t want to take on that responsibility of recording the names in case someone was missed. We thought it best if we left it up to the families who have lost loved ones to contact us directly.”