British Columbia

Construction company sentenced for deaths of 2 B.C. workers in 2014

The construction company at the centre of the deaths of two workers in 2014 at a mining site near Cranbrook, B.C., has been ordered to pay $70,000 in fines and charitable contributions. 

Broda Construction CEO says the 2 workers were valuable employees

Larry Chorneyko was one of two men who died at a work site near Cranbrook, B.C., in 2014. (Dallas Chorneyko)

The construction company at the centre of the deaths of two workers in 2014 at a mining site near Cranbrook, B.C., has been ordered to pay $70,000 in fines and charitable contributions. 

Broda Construction pleaded guilty last October to an offence under British Columbia's Mining Act. The company was sentenced late last week.

A second charge against Broda Construction was stayed. Charges against the others accused, including CP Railway and the site supervisor, were also stayed.

In an interview, the company's CEO, Gordie Broda, said he wants to share his regrets and remorse about the deaths of Murray Neil Fadden and Larry Chorneyko, who were killed when the truck they were in went out of control. 

"We lost two very valuable employees," Broda said, adding that he knew both of them personally.

"That's probably the most important thing ... that I just don't want to be forgotten."

Fadden and Chorneyko died on Sept. 16, 2014 while driving on a steep road at the Swansea Ridge Ballast Quarry near Cranbrook. Their Mack mini truck crashed into a rock terrace after other workers observed it speeding at the bottom of the road, according to the decision. 

Fadden was from Dryden, Ont. The 36-year-old left behind a wife and four children. Chorneyko was 58 when he died. His brother, Dallas Chorneyko, previously told CBC News he had worked for Broda Construction for nearly 30 years.

'We're just a small company'

Broda says he respects the judge's decision. He also points out the judge noted that investigators never discovered a cause for the crash, and the road the two workers were travelling on was never flagged as a problem — despite several inspections over the years. 

"For the longest time we struggled to try to understand what went wrong," Broda said. "We're just a small company that wants to continue trying to do the right things and keep moving forward.

"It's certainly not an incident that's going to be forgotten."

According to the decision, after the crash, B.C.'s inspector of mines ordered the company to make some adjustments to the work site.

In his decision, the judge said the company complied with all the inspector's recommendations, along with further recommendations from an independent engineering assessment that was conducted in March 2017. 

However, the judge also noted the Crown wasn't able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the "hazardous" conditions the company fixed are what caused the death of the two workers. 

The decision says the Crown sought the maximum fine of $100,000. Instead, the judge ordered the company to pay $20,000 in fines and a $50,000 contribution to Threads of Life, a charitable organization that helps families cope with workplace tragedies. 

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story mistakenly said that Broda Construction pleaded guilty to two charges. In fact, the company only pleaded guilty to one charge. A second charge was stayed.
    Mar 19, 2019 8:00 AM PT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maryse Zeidler

@MaryseZeidler

Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at maryse.zeidler@cbc.ca.

With files from Jason Proctor

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