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

UBCO looking for great writers as part of annual Okanagan Short Story Contest

Deadline for submissions quickly approaching on Jan. 31

Kelowna curlers book ticket to BC Mixed Doubles Championships

Elsie Everst and Adam Cseke look to advance to national stage

PHOTOS: Photographer Nick Clements captures Lake Country’s beauty

Lake Country was ranked as having the fifth-best weather in Canada by Macleans Magazine in 2019

Kelowna restaurant to hold fundraiser for one-year-old with cancer

The event is scheduled for Jan. 25 and will feature opportunities for cash donations

Climate change event coming to Kelowna next Wednesday

Panel experts will discuss how the Okanagan can adapt to climate change in the years ahead

VIDEO: Bobcat infiltrates Shuswap couple’s coop, feasts on fowl

Police officers credited for attempting to assist with animal’s extraction

U.S. officials confirm first case of Wuhan coronavirus near Seattle

The U.S. is the fifth country to report seeing the illness

HERGOTT: Honesty in the courtroom

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

Local Lizzie: Be kind, always

Lizzie Skelton is a UBC Okanagan student who writes a column for Black Press

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Summerland Steam earn two weekend wins

Junior B team defeats Osoyoos Coyotes and Kelowna Chiefs

Morning Start: 3D printed steak? No way…

Your morning start for Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

Alberta man dies in vehicle incident on Trans Canada Highway

The collision occurred Jan. 20, closing the highway east of Revelstoke till 1:30 a.m.

Most Read