Future of makeshift bus crash memorial unclear

The City of Ottawa says no decision has been made yet on what to do with a temporary memorial at the site of last month's deadly bus crash at a rail crossing near Fallowfield Station.
Two wooden crosses, pots of flowers and some weather-beaten pictures are part of a makeshift memorial near a level rail crossing where six people were killed in Ottawa's deadliest bus crash. (CBC)

The City of Ottawa says no decision has been made yet on what to do with a temporary memorial at the site of last month's deadly bus crash at a rail crossing near Fallowfield Station.

The makeshift shrine sits near the site of the crash where, a month ago, a bus driver and five passengers of an OC Transpo bus were killed after the bus collided at a level rail crossing with a Via Rail passenger train.

Stephanie Jack, who organized a vigil for the victims, worries the makeshift shrine will be bulldozed by snow plows this winter. She thinks it would be more respectful to move the weather-worn memorial before that happens.

"Flowers die and papers get ruined. It was a great thing to do for the people who did it but sometime you have to move forward," said Jack.

Transit union wants a more permanent monument

While the city hasn't decided what to do with the memorial, Craig Watson, the president of the local chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union, would like there to be a permanent remembrance once the families of the people involved have gone through their mourning period.

One of the six people killed in the crash was Dave Woodard, the driver of the bus.

"There should be something done to memorialize this for everybody and the families involved," said Watson.

He said there have been no talks with the city on when and where the a monument would be erected.

In a statement, the city says after an appropriate period of time OC Transpo will approach those involved to ensure a heartfelt and appropriate recognition of the tragedy is put in place.

Earlier this week the city adopted measures to improve safety at the crossing, including reducing the speed limit along the Transitway approaching the crossing, clearing out brush and dead trees to improve visibility and sight lines and adding another warning light.

City manager Kent Kirkpatrick said the new measures the city is taking are not as a result of any recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board, which is still investigating the crash.

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