No accountability when things go wrong

April 22, 2024
Sarah Wheatley

Exterior and interior photos of vehicle damage after one of FortisBC's subcontractors attempted an illegal u-turn on Highway 99. Photo: Sarah Wheatley

My name is Sarah Wheatley and I live in Squamish.

My hope in sharing this story is that it will help to create regulations to hold companies like FortisBC and Woodfibre LNG accountable, as there are presently no regulatory mechanisms to ensure they will assist victims who are harmed and/or injured by the negligent actions of their workers or contractors.

In the early morning of February 12th 2024, my partner Denis and I were headed to YVR to catch a flight for a surf trip in Mexico. My sister, Kieran, and my dog, Koa, were with us as my sister was to return my vehicle back to Squamish after we had been dropped off.

While driving southbound on Hwy 99, a crew vehicle consisting of three Surerus Murphy Joint Venture employees, and equipment in a Ford F350 flat-bed truck, executed an illegal and dangerous u-turn across the four lane highway just south of Shannon Falls.

My partner Denis was driving and managed to reduce his speed while fighting with the steering wheel to hold it straight. In the split seconds he had, he realized he couldn't go to the left due to oncoming traffic or to the right due to the vehicle we were passing, which would have likely forced that car over a cliff. We then slammed into the side of the truck, completely demolishing the front end of our vehicle.

Miraculously, all three of us survived, including my dog. It took firefighters 20 minutes to remove my sister, Kieran, out of the vehicle and onto a stretcher, and we were taken by ambulance to Squamish General. We were diagnosed with abrasion burns, severe soft-tissue trauma, whiplash and concussion, and my sister was transported to Lion’s Gate Hospital for a CT scan which revealed a fractured vertebrae.

The Surerus Murphy driver and crew members were unhurt, and stated they never saw us coming despite them directly pulling out in front of two vehicles with full headlights in the dark. There was no mitigation on the crew’s part to avoid the collision, and ICBC and the RCMP deemed the other driver 100% at fault.

Since the collision we have been dealing with issues that many high speed Motor Vehicle Accident victims face, such as significant physical injuries, mental trauma and PTSD, medical expenses, and the financial stress of being unable to work. Unfortunately there has not been any significant assistance from FortisBC or Surerus Murphy Joint Venture for the tragedy and hardships they have caused my family.

When we reached out to both companies to inform them of the collision, we were made aware that the Surerus Murphy driver and crew did not report the full extent of the accident.

So far, FortisBC has distanced itself from accepting any responsibility for the extreme negligence of one of its subcontractors, and have responded to the incident by offering us best wishes for a speedy recovery.

I am deeply concerned that Woodfibre LNG is proposing that its workers access ferries via Site B, which is located directly opposite the Mamquam Forest Service Road where hundreds of FortisBC’s pipeline workers and subcontractors will be accessing the pipeline route and a second proposed work camp for 650+ workers.

This intersection on Highway 99 has no traffic lights, and Woodfibre LNG’s traffic management plan proposes to direct workers to turn right when leaving Site B and make a u-turn at Darrell Bay or the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park during peak traffic times.

Despite the inclusion of traffic protocols and safety procedures, there is no guarantee that workers will follow them, and no company accountability should their workers cause another tragic accident.

I share my story to raise my concerns for my community, neighbours, friends, and family, and everyone who drives on the Sea to Sky highway. We will continue to push for regulations to ensure these companies are held accountable when things go wrong.


Sarah Wheatley


What is happening?

Woodfibre LNG has applied for a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) for a floating workcamp to house up to 650 workers. On Tuesday, April 23, the District of Squamish is holding a public hearing to listen to the community’s concerns as they consider this application.

Three ways you can take action!

This is a critical moment in the fight to stop Woodfibre LNG. Tell the District of Squamish to reject Woodfibre LNG's floating workcamp!

1. Send a letter to council by 6pm, April 23.

We've put together a list of key concerns and a template letter to make it easy. Use our letter writing tool or email council directly:

Personalized messages are the most impactful.

2. Come out and hold a sign

No preparation necessary! Grab a sign at the entrance and hold it up during the public hearing from 6pm till late. RSVP here!

3. Sign up to speak at the public hearing

If you'd like to speak at the public hearing on April 23, 2024, email now to sign up to the Speaker's List.

Each speakers will have 3 minutes. RSVP here and check out the list of key concerns for inspiration. You can also hold a sign when you're not speaking.


Public information meeting

WHEN: 6pm till late, Tuesday April 23, 2024
Doors open at 5:15pm.

WHERE: Brennan Park Recreation Centre
1009 Centennial Way, Squamish BC


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