A June 10 logging truck accident on the Bamfield Main is a clear indicator that the unpaved road needs to be improved, said Huu-ay-aht executive director James Edwards.
“This is a road that the province has forgotten. There are communities, there are people, there are tourists, there’s an economy… there are life stories at the end of this road.”
The accident occurred in the morning, about 47 km down the Bamfield Main from Port Alberni.
No other vehicles were involved, Edwards said.
“It [the truck] ended up colliding with a bridge and partially went over the bridge,” he said. “In the process, one of its exterior fuel tanks was ripped off and diesel fuel did leak.”
The incident was cleaned up by 1 p.m., Edwards said.
The driver, who was a subcontractor for Island Timberlands, was taken to hospital but the nature of his injuries were not exactly known.
“We were very fortunate that the driver wasn’t seriously injured and that the release of the diesel fuel wasn’t more serious as well,” said Edwards.
The diesel fuel was released into a creek bed that typically feeds Sarita Lake—however, at the time of the incident the bed was dry.
While the impacts of this crash were far less devastating than they could have been, Edwards said that the accident shows just how poor the road condition is.
“It really does highlight that the road isn’t an infrequently (travelled), private industrial road,” he said.
“It sees significant and daily use and it’s unsafe.”
The road to Bamfield is the only land access to Bamfield and Anacla, which together house more than 300 people.
“The road isn’t safe for the community members, it isn’t safe for the tourists and it’s not safe for the emergency vehicles. It’s one of the few public use roads that see this kind of traffic that isn’t safe to public safety standards.”