By Alison Taylor
Two weeks after his 60 th birthday, Squamish logging truck driver Bryan Valleau was killed while at work in the Elaho Valley.
The accident took place in the early afternoon on Thursday, June 21, making it the second logging accident in as many months in the Sea to Sky corridor.
Local coroner Jan MacFayden said an investigation is underway with WorkSafe B.C.
“All I can say right now is that the investigation is going full tilt,” she said.
Valleau was with two other crewmembers at Mile 41 removing “right of way” logs — those logs that have been put off to the side to be picked up later.
MacFayden said it was a three-man operation, loading the logs to the trailer.
Valleau was caught under the wheels of his empty trailer.
“He’s lived and worked in Squamish for many, many years, for Elaho Logging,” said MacFayden. “He’s one of their very valued employees.”
Representatives from Elaho Logging did not return phone calls before deadline this week.
The accident happened just two months after another well-known logger died on the job.
Davey Valleau, who is no relation to Bryan Valleau, was found April 27. He had been on a routine trip to inspect a forestry road near Pemberton. His vehicle was discovered off a steep embankment.
The accidents highlight the high risks of the logging business.
Statistics from the B.C. Coroners Service show that in the five-year period from 2002 to 2006 there were 108 “forestry-related” deaths in the province. Twenty-five of those deaths involved log hauling or trucking.
The B.C. Coroner Service has one coroner who handles logging deaths in the province full time.
“It’s a huge industry in B.C.,” said MacFayden. “It’s good to have one source that’s dealing with these things and the information that’s coming from the logging industry and WorkSafe as a result of these deaths so that there can be practices put in place that make things safer.”
Valleau was born on June 5, 1947. MacFayden said he was originally from Saskatchewan.
He has two grown children, a son and a daughter.
According to the Squamish Funeral Chapel, a service will be held on Friday, June 29 at 1 p.m. at the Sea to Sky Hotel.
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