According to your article (“Logs that trapped young girl part of on-going battle with Dutch elm disease in Warfield” Trail Times, Feb. 14) Dutch elm disease is the “true culprit behind a mishap that happened on a Grade 5-6 class outing on Friday” (Thursday).
If so, then it was certainly aided and abetted by others unwilling to accept any responsibility. To me the main “culprit” is the village. They made the decision to remove the large elm trees and, more importantly, they made the decision not to remove these stumps until spring. Science says the wood must be burned, chipped or buried to eliminate homes for the bark beetles (a factor in disease management).
Usually, the tree removal company removes all of the waste. If the decision was made to cut costs by using the village crew to complete the process, then it is their responsibility to remove the waste. If the swampy conditions made it uncomfortable, then removal should have taken place earlier in the year to avoid a dangerous situation or, since the firemen were able to extricate an 11-year old in a stretcher up the steep incline with a portable winch, then I am certain the crew could do the same with a stack of dead trees. Too heavy? Put one employee in the gully with a chain saw to cut them into smaller pieces.
Was the school notified about this hazardous situation? If so, they too are a “culprit.”
Thirty-four years of experience tells me that avoidance of these risk areas is mandatory, especially where 20-30 pre-teens are involved. If not notified, then where the hell was the appropriate signage? The park should have been closed to the public or, at the very least, danger signs posted.
Sadly, this letter was written over two weeks after the incident awaiting an apology to the family from the main culprit. Nothing has arrived from a village representative. I know the principal and the teacher apologized personally as they were there. Their apology has been accepted.
Is it any wonder why municipalities are being sued for negligence? My wife and I are also aware of the extreme anguish and stress brought on by this avoidable tragedy. Our granddaughter was trapped completely hidden from us under a stack of logs for about 1.5 hours in -6 C weather.
On a positive note, my family would like to extend kudos to the firemen at the scene. I personally observed their diligence, resourcefulness and professionalism that day and we are indebted to them. They must also be frustrated when they are called to the scene of a preventable accident.