Karl Stunt was killed on the job at Sunshine Village on August 31, 2004. He was one of the all too many workers who are killed on the job in Alberta every year. As a result of the workplace fatality Sunshine Village Corporation was found guilty of failing to ensure the health & safety of its workers. Sunshine Village was fined and ordered to pay an additional $250,000 to Selkirk College in BC . This endowment was intended to honour the memory of Karl Stunt and to raise awareness of workplace safety amongst students in the Ski Resort Operations and Management Program.
Sunshine Village Corporation put its lawyers to work and in 2010 succesfully appealed the decision claiming it could not have foreseen the incident. That contraversial finding was never tested as Alberta Employment and Immigration mistakenly chose not to continue with the case. Sunshine paid it’s lawyers but chose at the time not to proceed with the endowment.
Because the scholarship was part of the original conviction and sentence, which has now been overturned, ski hill operators aren’t obligated to go ahead with it, resort spokesman, Doug Firby, said Sunday. “Alberta ski lift worker’s ‘legacy’ lost: family” (CBC – August 2, 2010)
Karl’s father – Bill Stunt – expressed his sadness and dissapointment at the time. “It’s the one small thing that we had out of this almost six-year process was some kind of legacy for Karl in a way that … could have done some good for some other person in his circumstance working in the ski industry,” he said.
On May 17, 2011 Sunshine Village announced a donation to Selkirk College of $50,000. The mainstream media picked up the feed and parrotted it. Only the Rocky Mountain Outlook drew the connection (see clipping below) and noted that not only was the endowment but a fraction of the original court-ordered payment but that also there was absolutely no mention of Karl Stunt, whose life it was originally intended to honour.
A belated and paltry $50,000 is better than nothing, but compared to a life it’s not much. Sadly though the ski management graduates of the Selkirk program will not learn of that lost life and the safety awareness cause originally intended as the endowment’s purpose. Sunshine Village has killed that opportunity it seems. Maybe, seven years after Stunt’s death, that’s just the way Sunshine Village wants it.