Premier John Horgan plans to meet Tuesday with members of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations to discuss the logging road where two UVic students died in a bus crash earlier this month.
Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. was one of the first to come across the crash site on September 13, where John Geerdes and Emma Machado, both 18, were killed when the bus rolled over. The bus was heading to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.
Several others were injured in the crash, which is the latest of many to have happened on the road.
Dennis says his nation has long been seeking upgrades to the privately-owned gravel road that is the only vehicle access between Port Alberni and Huu-ay-aht communities in Bamfield.The road, called Bamfield Main, is an 85-kilometre road that connects Bamfield and Anacla to Port Alberni.
The Huu-ay-aht First Nations said there are many issues including potholes, industrial truck traffic, poor driving conditions, steep embankments, slipper conditions in the winter and dry summers that cause dust and limited visibility.
““We called for an immediate meeting to discuss what can be done to ensure there is a safe route for everyone travelling this road, and that meeting is going to happen,” said Dennis.
“It is unfortunate that it took a tragedy like we witnessed to bring about action, but we are pleased that Premier John Horgan vowed to upgrade the logging road that connects our community to Port Alberni.”
A petition has also been created on change.org, asking the provincial and federal government to improve the quality of the road to Bamfield.
B.C.’s Forest Safety Ombudsman called on the province to upgrade the logging road 11 years ago.
With files from Canadian Press