At one time it was Kamloops’ largest convention, attracting more than 800 people to the city every second year.
Those loggers, contractors, equipment dealers and trade suppliers filled hotel rooms and restaurants for the Interior Logging Association (ILA) convention. They also brought tens of millions of dollars in towering equipment to the grounds of the KXA.
But the city has changed and so has the industry, which is beginning to climb out of a long recession caused by plummeting housing starts in the United States.
The convention returns this year, albeit with a fraction of its peak attendance and, for the first time, without its crowd-pleasing monster machines and logger shows.
John Drayton, a Kamloops lawyer and veteran board member of the Interior Logging Association, said changes this year were brought on by limited exhibition space in Kamloops as well as fortunes of the forest industry.
The trade show and convention, alternating every other year with Vernon, was a highlight for families with young children, who were able to marvel and scramble around in the machinery that harvests logs in B.C.’s forests.
“It’s due to the steep decline in the desire for purchase of new equipment,” Drayton said. “Equipment dealers were being squeezed (by the economy). It’s extremely expensive for them to bring all that equipment here and spend money on displays.”