Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for May 27th, 2009

Susan Heyes awarded $600,000 in lawsuit over Canada Line

with 9 comments


Good. Not great – she did not get all she was asking for and the court “dismissed her complaint against the City of Vancouver and the B.C. and federal governments”. But at least she has been vindicated

a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that the Canada Line project acted with cavalier disregard for the impact of its business decisions on the plaintiff.

“Cavalier disregard” is actually a hallmark of major projects in BC – and has been for some time. This government, after all, actually set out in its first term to remove all those annoying legal requirements (which had not had really that much impact) like environmental assessments as part of its”deregulation” mission. 

I hope that this decision becomes the leading case which allows for many others wronged by acts of commission and omission by the Canada Line – and other similar projects – to get some measure of redress. It is not that I want to see transit projects made much more expensive – I just want to see them done properly. If a project is approved on the basis of being in a bored tube it should not be allowed to switch to cut and cover without some due process. Obviously that was a material change with great significance for the community along the route. The idea that no one had to take responsibility for that is obviously untenable. What is frustrating is the the people who cause this kind of thing to happen have been let off the hook instead of being held to account. And I hold those responsible to to be the Government of British Columbia as well as Translink (who had the Line forced upon them but still voted for it) and the private sector partnership.

You can read the whole of the reasons for judgement as a pdf

Written by Stephen Rees

May 27, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Posted in transit