A convoy of over 600 vehicles travelled through Sylvan Lake in support of oil and gas on Jan. 12.
The pro-pipeline convoy had a noon departure from Red Deer and travelled north on 75th Ave. to Highway 2. It then travelled west on Highway 11 to Sylvan Lake where it went north on Highway 20, east to Highway 11A and then back to Red Deer on the QE2.
“It was the best route because you were using Highway 2 [and] Highway 11, which are both main, major highways, and then you were going through Sylvan [Lake],” said convoy organizer Dani Howells in a phone interview.
“We pretty much had Sylvan at a gridlock and I heard that people were hearing us honking our horns from in the housing estates there,” added Howell.
The convoy made its way through Sylvan Lake at around 1 p.m. on Jan. 12.
Howell says they could not have done the route without the help of the pilot trucks and the RCMP for doing their part in keeping the general public and the participants safe.
“It could not have gone any better,” commented Howell. “Everyone acted professionally, they made a statement and they did it proud and they did it with integrity and that was the best thing ever.”
Howell added the convoy was “straightforward for oil and gas,” and everyone had their own reason for being there.
A father and son from Sylvan Lake were one of the hundreds of trucks to drive the route on Jan. 12.
Dustin Borrowman and his father, Doug Borrowman, woke up Saturday morning and got their gravel truck ready for the convoy.
Doug says his 18-year-old son was the one who really wanted to be a part of it.
“It’s such a movement that I think is necessary today and it’s making sure that your voice is heard,” said Dustin. “The way they did it, I think, is definitely making it heard.”
Doug says their business, TD Bobcat Services, is not oil patch driven, but it is affected by the policies made out East.
“If it’s affecting the oil patch out here, it affects us,” said Doug, adding they were one of the only non-oil patch representations in the convoy.
“Our voice was that we wanted everybody to realize it goes beyond the oil patch,” said Doug.
Dustin, who has only had his Class 1 licence for a couple months, says it was “pretty cool” to be a part of something so big.
“When we went down the QE2 and it was down to one lane and you saw everybody running beside you, they were honking at you and giving you a thumbs up,” said Dustin. “I thought it was pretty cool that everybody was so supportive of it even though you were making their commute longer.”
Doug described the experience as “pretty emotional” and said coming into Sylvan Lake was “breathtaking.”
“This is my backyard, we’ve been here 25 years, so to be here and see the amount of people who support it too, I think that they need to keep doing it [and] keep letting people know that our voices are heard, that it’s not just the oil patch,” said Doug, adding they wanted to be there to show other businesses they support them.
Doug says Albertans feel like they are not being heard nationally and a cross-country convoy may be what it takes for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and everybody else along the way, to realize how they are affected by the oil downturn too.
A pro-pipeline convoy is organized to head from Red Deer to Ottawa on Feb. 15 to support similar issues related to oil and gas.
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