B.C. Premier John Horgan addressed the mid-Island bus crash and promised to act on concerns about the safety of the road. (Photo courtesy the Canadian Press)

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

B.C. Premier John Horgan acknowledges the need for improvements to the logging road from Port Alberni to Bamfield where two students from the University of Victoria (UVic) were killed on Sept. 13. The students were en route to the Bamfield Marine Research Centre when their bus rolled off the road down the embankment.

On Thursday, Horgan noted that the problems with the road aren’t new, nor are the concerns. The Huu-ay-aht First Nation has raised concerns about the Bamfield road for many years and that Horgan said he’s seen first-hand how dangerous the road is. Horgan said he spoke to Huu-ay-aht Chief Coun. Robert Dennis Sr. about it 20 years ago – long before he worked in the legislature.

READ ALSO: Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

The premier said it’s unfortunate that it took a fatal tragedy for the province to focus its attention on the road. He promised that he, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena, the forestry companies and the local Indigenous community would be working together on the matter.

“Kids travel to Port Alberni on that road every day to go to school,” said Horgan. “If that’s not enough to see action, I don’t know what is.”

He emphasized that the area’s MLA, Scott Fraser, has been working on the issue for over a decade and that the road conditions were touched on by the former provincial government in the 2007-2008 review of B.C.’s logging roads.

READ ALSO: Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Horgan acknowledged that the road itself is privately owned and under the purview of Western Forest Products – a Canadian lumber company – but pointed out that the public uses it so the province is “going to have to find a way forward.”

On Thursday, UVic announced it would be reviewing the circumstances of the bus crash and that an upcoming student trip to the Bamfield Centre would continue as planned. Horgan did not comment on the University of Victoria’s decision not to cancel the October trip. However, he noted that “clearly a bus of that size is not appropriate on that road.”

READ ALSO: UVic announces review into circumstances of fatal bus crash

With files from Tom Fletcher.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Chemainus family pledges $50,000 to Chemainus Theatre Crisis Relief Fund

The Hilton family pledged $50,000 toward a matched fund. If fully matched, it will raise $100,000

Local woman makes face masks to raise funds for LRCA Food Bank

Cheryl Lowrence made 30 face masks and raised $326.25 for the food bank

Ladysmith family creates music video to show appreciation for community in the face of COVID-19

Sheila Richards, 77 is the star of new music video celebrating community kindness in Ladysmith

Burning complaints prompt regulation reminder from North Oyster Volunteer Fire Department

NOVFD has responded to at least 10 burning complaints in since April 1

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Patient airlifted after crash in Nanaimo’s East Wellington area

Woman sustains serious injuries, requires extrication from vehicle

Most Read