Search and rescue crews and RCMP help a tow-truck crew to remove a bus from the ditch of a logging road near Bamfield, B.C., on Saturday, September 14, 2019. Two University of Victoria students died and more than a dozen other people were injured after a bus on its way to a marine research centre rolled over on a narrow gravel road on Vancouver Island on Friday. The incident happened between the communities of Port Alberni and Bamfield, said the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria, which received a call for assistance at around 10 p.m. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

EDITORIAL: Community roads need to be maintained

Premier John Horgan has promised action on the road between Bamfield and Port Alberni…

Premier John Horgan has promised action on the road between Bamfield and Port Alberni, after a bus rollover earlier this month resulted in the deaths of two first-year university students.

It’s unfortunate that it took this tragedy to bring attention to the road.

Bamfield residents and visitors have been petitioning the provincial government for decades to improve the condition of the road. Bamfield Main is a gravel logging road owned and maintained by logging companies. But it’s not only used by loggers—the road is travelled every year by thousands, including residents of Bamfield, members of Huu-ay-aht First Nations, tourists and students and researchers travelling to the Bamfield Marine Science Centre.

In the wake of the accident, some have questioned why a bus driver was travelling on a remote logging road so late in the evening. Others have pointed out that the road is hazardous no matter the time of day.

Bamfield Main is a road that has outgrown its original intent and has become a road connecting communities. It’s not reasonable to ask private companies to maintain it for regular commuters. This should be a responsibility taken on by the provincial government.

Bamfield is not the only community in the province serviced by a logging road. Zeballos and Tahsis, on the north end of the Island, are similarly isolated—not to mention a number of First Nations communities in B.C.’s Interior. A report released by B.C.’s forest safety watchdog in 2008 said that these roads have become an extension of the public highway system, and should be treated as such.

But 11 years after this report was released, Bamfield’s only road in and out of the community is still hazardous for experienced and inexperienced drivers alike.

The situation brings another piece of dangerous road to mind. The provincially-owned Cathedral Grove has been described as “an accident waiting to happen” by Port Alberni residents, local governments and tourists. The park draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, choking the highway with cars parked on the shoulders and pedestrians making unexpected dashes across the road.

Numerous studies and surveys have taken place over the past few years, but there has been no action yet.

We can only hope it won’t take another tragedy before we see a change.

— Alberni Valley News

Just Posted

Port Alberni Black Sheep earn first win of 2019-20 rugby season

The Black Sheep are on the road to play the Comox Valley Kickers on Oct. 26.

Port Alberni Fire Department to be featured on Discovery Channel

Second season of Hellfire Heroes premieres Oct. 22

Port Alberni’s newest street gets Nuu-chah-nulth name

Process prompts review of pre-approved names

EJ Dunn Elementary School celebrates playground

MLA Scott Fraser cuts official ribbon, climbs with kids at Port Alberni play space

In the news: Liberals eke out a win, but will need NDP, Green support to pass bills

Conservatives say they are ready if Trudeau should falter

Remains found under Kamloops street belong to woman who lived five centuries ago

Woman was between ages of 50 and 59, gave birth at least once, was right-handed

‘Inconsistent’ message on climate change hurt Liberals at the polls: prof

Trudeau government will have to make concessions to hold onto power

Greta Thunberg to attend post-election climate strike in Vancouver

Sustainabiliteens Vancouver strike expected to emphasize need for cross-party collaboration

‘Inconsistent’ message on climate change hurt Liberals at the polls: SFU prof

Trudeau government will have to make concessions to hold onto power

Security guard bitten, punched by patient at Terrace hospital

Violent incident is one of many in northwest B.C., nurses’ union says

VIDEO: Final trailer for ‘Rise of Skywalker’ debuts

Last instalment in Skywalker saga to hit theatres Dec. 20

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Most Read