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.

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Section of Island Highway north of Nanaimo isn’t safe

I hope politicians will do something about this issue, says letter writer

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Latest scam going around claims credit card misuse

Scam involves someone calling to report fictitious purchases on a credit card, says letter writer

Proposed 76-unit residential development would neighbour north Nanaimo mall

Council approves first and second reading of re-zoning application for 4961 Songbird Pl.

Map on Elections Canada site sends voters to Cedar landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Nanaimo software designer creates hunting-themed card game

Duck Buck Moose involves skill, cunning and luck of the draw

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates compare, contrast platforms on debate stage

Energy policy, veterans’ affairs and more debated Thursday at Beban Park

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Vancouver Island doctor rushed to help Hurricane Dorian victims days after his retirement

Potts was asked by Samaritan’s Purse to help at a field hospital in Freeport

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates share priorities and reasons for running

Eight of nine candidates in the riding respond to Black Press questionnaire

South Nanaimo cabin containing mining artifacts burns down

Cabin was unoccupied at time of incident, say firefighters

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Most Read