Passing the buck on Lobird blast

The Yukon government was found guilty of allowing an unsafe dynamite blast that caused rocks to rain down on the Lobird Trailer Park in May 2008. Now, the government is asking for a separate retrial.

The Yukon government was found guilty of allowing an unsafe dynamite blast that caused rocks to rain down on the Lobird Trailer Park in May 2008.

Now, the government is asking for a separate retrial.

It has already appealed the guilty verdict and on Monday requested its own trial from the Yukon Supreme Court.

The unsafe blast occurred during construction of the Hamilton Boulevard extension and sent rocks as big as computer printers into the trailer park.

Tree branches were smacked off their trunks, people ran for cover and one large rock fell to its resting place in a family’s living room. Luckily, no one was hurt.

Last May, the Community Services Department, contractor PS Sidhu Trucking and site supervisor William Cratty were all found guilty of allowing the blast and failing to immediately report it to an occupational health and safety officer.

Blaster Peter Hildebrand, pleaded guilty to conducting an unsafe blast and told the judge he had no idea how close the trailer park was to the blast site.

In essence, the government is claiming that while it owned the project, it contracted the work, meaning only the contractor should be held responsible.

In court, government council has said this decision would set a dangerous precedent for all property owners, big or small.

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board conducted the original investigation and recommended charges be laid.

While unable to comment on an on-going case, the board’s position has not changed, said director of corporate services Mark Hill.

On Monday, the government also requested new evidence be admitted.

Cratty was fined $2,500, the trucking company was fined $21,000, and the government was fined $30,000. All the fines were ordered to be paid to Northern Safety Network Yukon for safety courses and projects.

Justice Leigh Gower did not make any decisions on the government’s requests, nor did he say when a decision would be released.