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

Bowser attic blaze contained by fire crews

Early-morning stove fire spread to attic

The Old Schoolhouse Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach to re-open on Aug. 11

Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

COVID-19: SD69 working on how to organize schools for planned fall re-opening

Qualicum School District required to have plan to ministry by Aug. 26

EDITORIAL: Real communication can solve problems

Neighbourhood dispute in Columbia Beach made headlines

RDN Transit requiring masks for most come end of month

Masks, hand sanitizer to be handed out in Regional District of Nanaimo mask policy campaign

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

Most Read