Ducharme, who goes by only one name, stands at the site on Tzouhalem Road where a fiery crash claimed the life of a 21 year-old on Nov. 11. Ducharme led a group of volunteers who cleaned the site of debris from the crash. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Cowichan man and volunteer crew clean up accident site, after glitch with new contractor

Ministry of Transportation claims oversight

Leftover debris from a fiery crash on Tzouhalem Road on Nov. 11 that left one man dead drove a family friend into action.

Ducharme, who goes by only one name, said when members of the family of the 21 year-old victim of the single-vehicle accident visited the scene, located just east of the Lakes Road intersection, soon after to pay their respects, they were appalled to find parts from the SUV involved in the crash everywhere littering the ground.

RELATED STORY: ONE DEAD AFTER FIERY CRASH IN DUNCAN

He said there were blackened hoses, clamps, transmission parts and tools all over the place.

“I talked to some local churches and other groups and organized a day to clean up the mess,” Ducharme said.

“We had seven members of the community plus members of the family involved. We collected more than 140 pounds of debris from the accident site. The accident happened next to a salmon-bearing stream, so I also have concerns around the fluids from the car getting into the water.”

After cleaning the site, Ducharme said he began making phone calls to local governments and agencies to determine who is responsible for cleaning up accident scenes in that area.

He said after numerous calls over several days, he received a phone call from an official at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure stating that accident clean ups at that site are ultimately the responsibility of the ministry.

A statement from the ministry said its thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim of the accident.

“Generally, the ministry’s highway maintenance contractor is responsible for clearing crash debris on provincially-maintained roads,” the statement said.

“In this case, the new contractor wasn’t initially made aware of the crash.”

As part of a bidding process, Emcon Services Inc. replaced Mainroad South Island Contracting as the ministry’s road maintenance contractor for much of the south Island as of Oct. 1 for a 10-year term.

RELATED STORY: NEW ROAD MAINTENANCE CONTRACT FOR SOUTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND ANNOUNCED

Mainroad South Island Contracting had been the contractor in the area since 2004.

The statement from the ministry said it apologizes to the family for the delay in cleaning the site.

“The remaining debris will be cleared this weekend [Jan. 11-12],” the statement said.

“There are no concerns with ground or water contamination from vehicle fluids [from the accident site].”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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