Dave Bachmier said he was “devastated” to find his departed wife’s bench upturned and broken in the wake of road maintenance outside his rural property. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Dave Bachmier said he was “devastated” to find his departed wife’s bench upturned and broken in the wake of road maintenance outside his rural property. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

YRB apologizes after sub-contractor breaks memorial bench on Danshin Village Rd.

Bench was a favourite spot of property-owner’s departed wife

A disabled veteran and bereaved husband is angry with the contractor in charge of road maintenance at his remote property on Danshin Village Rd. The contractor has issued an apology and is working on finding some kind of resolution.

Dave Bachmier said he came home from a special trip to Castlegar nearly two weeks ago to find his dogs upset, his roadside hedges flattened and his departed wife’s favorite bench driven into the ground.

A mowing company hired by Yellowhead Road and Bridge (YRB) had cut a broad swathe of roadside greenery along Danshin Village road using a tractor-mounted flail.

YRB said Bachmier’s shrubbery was planted along a broad right-of-way it maintains for the Ministry of Transportation. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

YRB said Bachmier’s shrubbery was planted along a broad right-of-way it maintains for the Ministry of Transportation. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Bachmier’s first thought was that “a tornado had ripped through my yard.”

“I was in tears, because my wife and I were together for 35 years.”

Bachmier struggles with a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder from his 25 years’ service with Canadian Armed Forces in conflicts in Cyprus, Kuwait, and Iraq. He moved to Danshin Village Rd with his wife, George, in 2009 for the relative peace and quiet he needed to readjust to civilian life.

George, who spent countless afternoons waiting at her brightly coloured bench for her boys to come home from school, died of stomach cancer in 2018.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure — which awarded YRB’s contract for area road and highway maintenance — was unable to comment while the province is between governments, but YRB’s Greg McNeil spoke to The Gazette.

The ministry has a 20-metre right-of-way on either side of Danshin Village Rd., McNeil said. Bachmier’s bench had been left on an approach to his gate that YRB was within it rights to cut as part of its annual brushing program. The work was necessary to provide a clear line-of-sight and to allow for snowplow clearance this winter.

McNeil didn’t excuse what happened to the bench, stressing that he’d apologized to Bachmier on behalf of YRB.

“He’s having a tough enough time as it is,” McNeil said. “He really didn’t need this.”

“We’re not out there trying to upset people. All we want to do is make highways safe.”

YRB crews will be cleaning up after the mowing company, which McNeil said had left a mess along Danshin Village Rd. YRB was working towards some kind of a resolution with Bachmier as of Friday, Oct. 16.

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