Gabriola Island residents Chris Straw and Marc Doré, who were good friends and beloved in the community, have been identified as the men who died when a concrete pump truck’s boom fell while it was being used in the building of a new home for Straw.
Both Straw and Doré had worked at CBC in the past and had become key members of the Gabriola Island community, where they had embraced new interests.
Concrete was being poured for the foundation of the planned Berry Point Road home when the accident occurred, Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department Chief Will Sprogis said. About 20 volunteer firefighters responded.
The house was being built by a Gabriola company headed by Doré and Huguette Grenier-Doré.
Bedrock Redi-Mix of Nanaimo was being used to put in the concrete.
An official from the company said it is co-operating with investigators.
“We are in shock and are extremely concerned about the impact to these individuals’ families and friends,” said manager Faron Parlee.
The B.C. Coroners Service and WorkSafe B.C. are investigating.
Parlee said the company is co-operating with all provincial safety authorities and with the site managers.
Margy Gilmour said her husband Chris Straw, 62, was “very kind and would do anything for anybody whether he knew them or not.”
Gilmour and Straw have two adult children, Matthew and Chloe. Their daughter is married to Jules Molloy and they are parents to Luca, who will be eight in a couple of weeks. Luca and his grandfather were “joined at the hip,” Gilmour said.
Straw, a former producer at CBC, pursued his passion for art on Gabriola. “Chris was an amazing photographer and artist. He gave incredible amounts of his time to the Gabriola Arts Council and many other community groups and projects,” said Carol Fergusson, Arts Council executive director.
“He had a very dry sense of humour and a wicked wit.”
Straw was a brilliant master-of-ceremonies who “held audiences in the palm of his hand at community events,” she said.
“He had an enormous heart and loved this island.”
CBC broadcaster and UVic chancellor Shelagh Rogers, a Gabriola resident, said Straw and Doré were each “extremely kind and generous and both of them were very funny.”
“They were both beloved. They were both really woven into the fabric of Gabriola.”
Everybody walking by is in tears, she said.
“Marc was very philosophical. He loved to get into philosophical discussions.”
The Dorés have built beautiful homes on Gabriola, she said.
“He [Marc] was exacting and a perfectionist and very proud of the work that he and Huguette did together. He left the CBC and this is what he went into.” Doré had worked for CBC in Edmonton.
Charlie Cheffins, Rogers’ husband, recalled seeing Doré about a week ago. A happy Doré remarked to Cheffins that “he gets up and loves going to work.”
Music from the 1960s was playing and Cheffins recalled Doré’s smile.
“He was doing what he loved.”
Cathy Hunt, who worked with Straw at CBC in Vancouver and remained friends, echoed others who praised his humour.
“He was simply the best. He was so funny. He had a line for every occasion, every moment.”
“On top of being incredibly funny, he was so kind,” she said. “He had such a great big heart.”
Hunt, a summer resident on Gabriola, said Straw was a leader and a top professional. “He was just that guy that everybody trusted. … He was the radio guru really.”
“Anything that was new or anything that was experimental they usually got Chris involved with because he could think out of the box.”
Straw was executive producer of Arthur Black’s Basic Black program and excelled in training others at CBC, she said.
Steve Burgess hosted a CBC TV show called @the end and Straw was the senior producer in its final season ending in 2003.
“Chris was one of those people I had a tremendous liking for, a real fondness for and it was really great to have been able to work with him.”