Dillan Fernando was killed in a traffic circle in Pitt Meadows after being hit by a dump truck. (Special to The News)

Family of cyclist killed in Pitt Meadows raising money for Sri Lankan tech centre in his honour

Computer hub would give underprivileged children access to equipment they can not afford

The family of a cyclist killed in a Pitt Meadows traffic circle last month is raising money to establish a Sri Lankan computer centre in his honour.

Dillan Fernando, who lost his life after being struck by a dump truck at Airport Way and Harris Road on May 15, had a passion for computers, and his family want to give underprivileged children in Fernando’s country of birth access to that same technology.

Fernando’s family are hoping to establish a tech centre in the village of Vavuniya, in the north east part of the country, explained the cyclist’s brother, Ben Fernando.

He said a civil war that has lasted more than quarter century, has orphaned and scarred the children living there.

The village’s main source of income is farming and so it also experiences extreme poverty, noted Fernando’s brother.

“From the time he was 10 years old, Dillan had a love of technology and computers. Racing home from school to work on his computer, he spent countless hours in his room playing games and programming,” recounted his brother.

“Our initial goal is to have a new wing constructed within an existing building,” he said about the new tech centre.

Fernando’s wife, Esther Nam-Fernando, along with his family will be matching all donations up to $10,000.

They are also hoping to get donations of equipment including computers, tablets, iPads, laptops, monitors, and gaming systems.

READ MORE: Coquitlam man killed in Pitt Meadows is remembered as ‘selfless’ and ‘giving’

“Our initial budget is $25K to accommodate an up to 10 children-facility, which is possible by stretching every dollar to utilize it effectively,” added Fernando’s brother.

They are going to call it Tech Centre-Dillan Fernando Memorial.

The Ridge Meadows RCMP have yet to release any further updates in their investigation into Fernando’s death.

“These investigations take time and due to the scope of these investigations we don’t expect to have updates for quite some time,” said Const. Julie Klaussner, with the Ridge Meadows RCMP. An update, she said, will likely come sometime in the fall.

However, the family is upset there is still no accountability.

READ MORE: Pedestrian dies after being hit by dump truck in Pitt Meadows Saturday afternoon

“We have yet to get a full report of what took place,” said Fernando’s brother, who lives in Washington D.C..

“No one has taken responsibility for Dillan’s death but just chalked (it) up to a freakish accident created by a blind spot of a driver aided by emergency vehicles.

“I’m not willing to accept that,” he said.

The grieving brother added his family is even more saddened after reading about other cyclists in the area who were killed after being hit by vehicles.

There are changes coming to the roundabouts along Airport Way, but not as a direct result of Fernando’s death.

As part of the agreement with Onni Group, the developer currently building Phase 3 and 4 of the Golden Ears Business Park in South Bonson, the traffic circles at Airport Way and Harris Road and Airport Way and Bonson Road, will become signallized intersections.

This agreement was made by the city’s former council, said City of Pitt Meadows CAO Mark Roberts.

The agreement also includes sidewalk improvements, a mid-block pedestrian-controlled signal between Bonson and Harris Roads and an expansion of Airport Way to four lanes from two, to just shy of the Golden Ears Bridge roundabout, he explained.

After a number of traffic volume studies were completed that looked at predicted volumes based on Phase 3 and 4 of the business park being added, it was determined that the single-lane roundabouts would need to be replaced. Double-lane roundabouts are much more complex and require a larger space, so signals were chosen, noted Roberts.

Fernando’s family want his death to bring awareness to the impact that these senseless crashes have on families – both in the immediate aftermath and for years to come.

“I appeal to all local and greater Vancouver authorities to get to the bottom of this and make sure the due respect is given to my brother, his wife, our parents and in-laws, siblings and friends who are all mourning of the passing of one of the most decent human beings,” he said.

“His death is one too many.”

As of Tuesday, June 15, 15 donors have raised $2,150 USD of a $25,000 goal.

To donate go to gofundme.com.

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Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News