Stan Coleman from Huu-ay-aht First Nations escaped serious injury but his car totalled when dust obscured his vision while driving on Bamfield Road, and he collided with the back of a logging truck. (PHOTO COURTESY STAN COLEMAN)

Vancouver Island First Nations urge caution driving Bamfield Road after serious crash

Dust obscured driver’s vision on logging road with destructive reputation

A recent serious accident on the Bamfield Main road offers a reminder to drivers that dust on logging roads during summer months create a serious safety concern. Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants to caution motorists to drive carefully if they head to Bamfield this summer.

Stan Coleman, a Registered Professional Forester and Huu-ay-aht’s forest consultant, hit a logging truck while travelling on Bamfield Main, escaping serious injury but totalling his car.

“Stan…is an experienced driver and has travelled the Bamfield road most of his career, and yet last week he hit a logging truck that was invisible to him on the dusty roads,” explains Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “Since the Bamfield road opened in the 70s, Huu-ay-aht has lost eight citizens on this road and witnessed countless accidents, many related to dust obscuring visibility.”

READ: Bamfield road safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash

It has been nine months since the tragic University of Victoria bus accident claimed two lives along the 85-kilometre stretch of logging road, and Huu-ay-aht continues to push the B.C. government to get the road upgraded. The First Nation is calling for chipsealing to reduce dust and other safety improvements.

In April 2019, Premier John Horgan travelled the road to meet with Huu-ay-aht leadership and committed to safety upgrades.

READ: Huu-ay-aht ‘optimistic’ about Bamfield road upgrades

Last week, in a meeting with Huu-ay-aht, Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA and Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Scott Fraser, promised to continue to push for the necessary approvals to move the Bamfield Road improvement project forward. Until that time, Huu-ay-aht encourages people to drive cautiously and to respect road conditions.

Port Alberni RCMP Const. Peter Batt also urges people to keep their speed down, especially when conditions are dusty.

“You need time to stop at the last second with all this dust on the road,” he said. “If you are doing the trip in less than 90 minutes, you are driving too fast.”

He also reminds drivers that it is important to make sure your headlights and taillights are turned on so that people coming toward you and up behind you can see you are there.

Huu-ay-aht has committed $5 million to the Bamfield road improvement project and needs an additional $25.7 million to complete it. In addition to making the road safer for residents, workers and visitors, improving the road is an important step for the whole region and can be part of the economic recovery strategy for the Alberni Valley.

“Everyone supports and understands the need for this work to be done,” Dennis said. “We are hopeful that the province will approve this project soon so that we can improve safety and save lives.”

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictBamfieldRoad conditionsTransportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mary Lowther column: Growing out your own seeds

Some crops like tomatoes don’t cross pollinate well

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Buyers across the province will soon be able to pick up a… Continue reading

Minivan driver’s speed a factor in fatal 2018 Malahat crash

Driver was travelling at 101 km/h in a construction zone

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Most Read