Sarah Hunter, a UVic student who survived the mid-Island bus crash on Friday, started a petition to fix the road where the bus rolled over. (Sarah Hunter/change.org)

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

A student from the University of Victoria who survived a bus crash on Friday night is asking the federal government to fix the road where the rollover occurred on Vancouver Island.

Sarah Hunter started a petition to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on change.org asking for something to be done to improve the 85-kilometre logging road between Port Alberni and Bamfield.

Hunter remembers the bus teetering and passengers screaming as the vehicle fell onto its side on the Carmanah Main Junction gravel road and slid 20 feet down the embankment just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 13. Of the 48 passengers, 17 were taken to hospital. Two 18-year-old first year biology students, Emma Machado and John Geerdes, were killed.

READ ALSO: Two killed after bus crashes taking university students to Bamfield

READ ALSO: UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

As of Wednesday morning, more than 3,250 people had signed Hunter’s petition. The road conditions have long been a concern for folks who use the route regularly and it’s frequently used to take students to the Bamfield Marine Science Centre for research trips.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nation have been pushing various levels of government to improve the road for years. In a statement released on Sept. 14, Chief Coun. Robert Dennis Sr. commended the first responders and to the City of Port Alberni for the quick action taken after the crash. He also noted that the incident highlights the need for safety improvements.

“Safety on this road is one of our primary concerns as a Nation,” said Dennis Sr. who was at the scene helping after the crash. “Too many lives have already been lost.”

Hunter noted that the bus driver was experienced, but that their skills were no match for the darkness, rain and poor road conditions. She believes the lack of action taken by the government is what led to the fatal incident.

“[This] dangerous road is used a primary route of transportation to bus large numbers of teenagers and young adults with all the known associated risk factors, and no one seems to care enough to do anything,” says Hunter.

She hopes the community will join forces to push the provincial and federal governments to fix the road to guarantee safety.

“It was only a matter of time before something like this happened, and I hope that everyone feels strongly enough to spark change so that it may never happen again.”

READ ALSO: Hundreds gather to reflect and remember UVic students killed in bus crash

READ ALSO: POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

In a statement, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said the issue is complex because the road is not owned by the province, and was designed and built for industrial use.

“Bamfield Main road is a private industrial road operated and maintained by private companies for active forestry operations,” a ministry representative said.

“Government has previously met with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation on several occasions to discuss their proposals for potential modifications to the road. Government will continue to discuss this with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation and other stakeholders.”


@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

Petition to install safety barriers on Hwy 97 garners over 500 supporters

Yesterday a fatal collision on Hwy 97 claimed the life of one individual

Oliver Health Centre celebrates expansion of ER

Minister of Health was in Oliver for the official opening of the improved emergency department

ALERT and Penticton pilot team up to talk about Australian wildfires

Mike Bridson has been fighting the fires in Australia, and returns to help more later this month

Harlem Globetrotters’ Hops Pearce is pumped to bring show to Penticton

Less than two weeks to get your tickets to see Globetrotters’ high-flying stunts

Okanagan health care community mourns loss of long-time hospital director

Ken Jarrard dedicated his life in Penticton to health care; he passed away today at age 92.

Older Canadians highlighted in Kelowna film project to fight ageism

The project is part of a campaign to combat ageism

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Princeton – a Prince Town in waiting?

The Town of Princeton has been waiting 160 years for a Royal… Continue reading

Group builds shelters for Vernon’s stray cats

Twenty insulated cat shelters were constructed by volunteers and delivered around town

UBCO partners with Boeing to test new anti-ice coating technology

The coating could one day be applied to all airplanes to prevent ice buildup

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

True Stories: Okanagan memoir-writers, reading

Reading with local North Okanagan writers Art Dalton, Patti Shales Lefkos, Raven Dahl, Janelle Hardy

Kelowna’s last video store, Leo’s Videos, to remain open despite failed sale

Kelowna’s last video rental store will remain open and under its namesake’s ownership

Most Read