B.C. premier visits Bamfield Road to discuss next steps after fatal UVic bus crash

B.C. premier visits Bamfield Road to discuss next steps after fatal UVic bus crash
File photo
A tow-truck crew removes a bus from the ditch of a logging road near Bamfield, B.C. on Sept. 14. Two UVic students who were on the bus died in the crash.

Premier John Horgan visited the Bamfield Main logging road on Thursday where two University of Victoria students were killed in a bus crash in September.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nations said the premier has directed the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to form an action group with Huu-ay-aht and other key stakeholders to create a plan to upgrade the road.

On Sept. 13, 2019, a Wilson’s Transportation coach bus went off the gravel logging road and slid down an embankment between Port Alberni and Bamfield. Forty-five University of Victoria students, two teaching assistants and a driver were on the bus, travelling to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.

Emma Machado, 18, and John Geerdes, 18, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Following the collision, Horgan vowed to upgrade the logging road and have the provincial government work on an engineering report.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nations said Thursday the premier travelled the Bamfield Main road to Ancala to discuss the report and future upgrades. Western Forest Products, Mosaic, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions, Bamfield director for Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District Bob Beckett, and MLA Scott Fraser also took part in the meeting. 

“Together we have the tools we need to make significant upgrades to the road. We have met in a respectful way, and it is clear we are all committed to take the necessary steps to reach our nation’s top goal of chip sealing the Bamfield road,” Huu-ay-aht First Nations Chief Coun. Robert J. Dennis Sr said in a statement “By visiting our community, the premier has a better understanding of how important it is to ensure this vital link is safe for all who travel the road.”

Chief Dennis also said the engineering report on the road carried out by the province does not dispute that there is an urgent need for upgrades but focuses on what approach to take.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nation said they have been working for decades to chip-seal the road but September’s fatal crash highlighted the urgency of the road’s safety concerns.

According to the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, since the Bamfield road opened in the 1970s, Huu-ay-aht has lost eight citizens and witnessed countless accidents along the 78-kilometre logging road.

Premier John Horgan meets with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations on Nov. 14, 2019. (Huu-ay-aht First Nations)




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