Trees removed near Humboldt Broncos bus crash site
SASKATOON -- The third anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash is approaching and the area where it happened looks a lot different.
After the April 6 2018 crash where a semi collided with the team's bus killing 16 people and injuring 13 others, the province worked with an engineering firm that made over a dozen recommendations to make the intersection safer -- including removing a "shelter belt" line of trees next to a home located near the intersection.
Saskatchewan's highways ministry has now followed through on the recommendation.
"The ministry has expropriated the property and removed the shelter belt trees, and continues to work with the property owner on compensation," the Ministry of Highways said in a statement.
"An independent appraiser has provided an opinion regarding fair compensation, which takes into account the value of private land in the sight triangle, the loss of property value after removal of trees."
The owner of the property declined a request for an interview.
However, a friend of the property owners said the trees provided “a shelter belt for them due to the highway noise, due to vehicles on the highway, wildlife, winds, storms you name it," Beth Bautz said.
Bautz has started a GoFundMe to help the couple who own the home plant new trees.
"Their lives changed suddenly, along with many others, in April 2018," the page says.
"Colin ran to help the injured that cold night … he was one of the first to arrive on scene. He spent many hours helping wherever he could until late into the night.
"Now most of their shelter and privacy has been stripped from them. Not to mention their land has become smaller."
A farmer who lives east of the intersection doesn’t think cutting down the trees would prevent another crash.
“I mean I don’t know what the trees had to with it … is this going to help, I personally don’t believe it will,” Lyndon Wrigley said.
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the truck driver involved in the deadly crash, pleaded guilty in January 2019 to 29 counts of dangerous driving.
Sidhu is currently serving an eight-year sentence and faces possible deportation.