All corridor communities reel from deadly accident 

Seven Squamish residents killed in head-on collision

Jasdeep Sandhu was a bellman at the Coast Whistler Hotel.

Dilbagh Goraya was the night janitor at the Delta Whistler Village Suites.

Balwinder Gill was a member of the stewarding team at the Westin Resort & Spa.

Karmjit Dhillon was a houseman at the Delta Whistler Resort.

That was the same job that Balwinder Dhanoa was doing at the Pan Pacific on last Friday’s graveyard shift.

Though they worked at different Whistler hotels, they all shared a ride in the same car that was involved in a head on collision early Saturday morning in Squamish, less than an hour after their night shifts ended.

The accident claimed the lives of all five hotel workers, along with Al Barbour and his 16-year-old son Ian.

Barbour also had work contracts in Whistler, cleaning municipal buildings for roughly the past decade, but he wasn’t travelling home from Whistler on the morning of the accident. Instead the father and son had just finished breakfast with Ian’s hockey team and were on their way to Brackendale to pick up a friend before heading to Sechelt for Ian’s hockey game.

Mayor Hugh O’Reilly called Barbour a friend at Monday’s council meeting, and expressed Whistler’s deepest sorrows to the families of all the victims.

Though six of the seven victims worked in Whistler, their lives and homes were in Squamish. That community is still struggling to come to terms with its loss.

"The whole town is (in) silence now," said Makhan Sanghera, president of the Gurdwara Baba Nanak Sikh Temple in Squamish.

"(When) you go down the road, you see people keeping their heads down.

"And the people who work in Whistler, they don’t even want to talk. When they talk just tears come out, nothing else. It is just heartache for everybody."

Sanghera said the close-knit Squamish Sikh community is praying all the time but he added that this is a tragedy that has reverberated through a number of communities. Its sadness has spread throughout Squamish to Whistler and as far away as India. In addition, the Whistler hotel community is reeling along with the students at Ian Barbour’s Squamish high school and his fellow hockey players.

"(The sadness) is not only for my community," said Sanghera.

"It’s other communities too."

Early this week the general managers of the hotels in Whistler who lost employees met to discuss how they can help the families and also help their staff mourn the loss of their fellow employees.


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