VICTORIA — British Columbia Premier John Horgan is expected to meet with Indigenous leaders on Vancouver Island next week to discuss the state of a treacherous logging road where two students died in a bus crash.
Horgan says he will meet with members of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations on Tuesday.
Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis says his nation has long been seeking upgrades to the privately owned gravel road that is the only vehicle access between Port Alberni and Huu-ay-aht communities in Bamfield.
The route is also the only one to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre — the destination of a bus carrying 45 University of Victoria students that crashed last Friday, killing two passengers.
B.C.'s Forest Safety Ombudsman called on the province to upgrade the logging road in 2008, noting the importance of the route not just for logging but to communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
As those discussions continue, University of Victoria vice-president of finance and operations Gayle Gorrill confirms another student trip to the Bamfield centre will go ahead next month.
Gorrill said the centre is "a world-class teaching and research facility that provides our students with incredible opportunities to learn and study," and there are no plans to cancel the late October field trip.
The Sept. 13 crash killed an 18-year-old Winnipeg woman, Emma Machado, along with a student from Iowa, John Geerdes.
RCMP and Transport Canada continue to investigate. (CTV)
This report from the Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2019