Stephen Rees's blog

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

Canada Line to appeal $600,000 in damages awarded maternity shop owner

with 3 comments

Vancouver Sun

Canada Line announced Friday it will appeal the B.C. Supreme Court ruling that awarded $600,000 in damages to maternity shop owner Susan Heyes after her Cambie Street shop suffered losses during construction of the rapid transit project

This is a dreadful waste of public money. And the excuse “Pitfield’s decision has potential ramifications for numerous public-sponsored infrastructure projects” is nonsense. The judgement made it plain that the defendants abused the process. They said they were going to build using bored tube, got consent, and then changed the plan to cut and cover. That is an old dodge known as “bait and switch”. They would never have got the consent of the city or the impacted community if they had known what was to come. And the other bidders should have called foul too, since they had presented their offers based on bored tube as requested.

What the judgement does is make project managers in future much more respectful of the public consultation process. It can no longer be the dog and pony show we have got used to in recent years, but actually has to listen to what people have to say and make sure that everyone understands what is actually going to happen. And then stick to the plan that was presented – not change it to suit some other interest.

What the proponents did on Cambie Street was wrong – and if they did not realize that at the time, they should have done. It is unfortunate that the burden on the penalty falls on the tax payer and the individuals who committed this wrong do not themselves have to pay any penalty. Yes this decision does set a precedent – and other merchants on Cambie Street should benefit from it. It will not impact other projects other than to ensure a proper process – which is what they should have had in the first place.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Posted in transit, Urban Planning

3 Responses

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  1. While doing research for Susan, I found out that even the Nottingham (real P-3 project) LRT consortium also had a compensation scheme for affected merchants! As well, one of the conditions was no shop was to be affected by construction in front of it for more than 2 weeks or additional compensation must be paid!

    (Please, someone send that little note to the Vancouver Engineering Dept.)

    According to Susan Heyes, Pitfield called the RAV P-3 a charade.

    What my legal council has told me is that an appeal is fraught with danger for TransLink and InTransit BC, for the Appeals Court could also increase the judgment or even find criminal fault.

    It’s like a crap shoot.

    What it boils down to is that TransLink and the rest are afraid of 100 to 200 lawsuits, increasing the cost of the price sensitive project by well over $60 million.

    DM Johnston

    June 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm

  2. I think they are pretty much obligated to appeal – or risk other similar law suits. This is just risk management at work. If they win, they may avert the other suits. If they lose, they’ll get sued anyway.


    June 21, 2009 at 9:44 pm

  3. […] in the suit but they are in my blog post. I did try to document what was happening and some of the outcome. But you might find the Siskinds Law Firm a bit more authoritative on the Canadian […]

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