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

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Reconciliation requires that all parties have a voice

Pipeline protests by the hereditary chiefs and their supporters have legitimacy, says letter writer

Oak Bay wins Vancouver Island basketball championship in Nanaimo

Third-place NDSS will get to challenge second place Claremont for a berth in provincials

Nanaimo drag queen Rick Meyers receives Victoria drag group’s highest honour

Queen City Sisterhood to bestow ‘sainthood’ upon ‘the divine’ Vicki Smudge

Qualicum Beach approves Pheasant Glen zoning amendment

Majority of residents who spoke at public hearing endorsed proposed amendment bylaw

Make your house a home at Nanaimo spring home expo

Building renovation and decor show taking place at Beban Park till Feb. 23

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Council approves two retail cannabis stores for Ladysmith

Their applications are now in the hands of the provincial government

Court awards Nanaimo woman $300,000 after crash exacerbates her fibromyalgia

Judgment follows 2015 motor vehicle accident on Turner Road

Affordable seniors housing complex pitched for Nanaimo’s hospital district

Seafield Crescent complex would include two five-storey buildings

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Suspect steals seaplane, crashes into another in Vancouver habour

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday

Most Read