Will legal woes derail TransLink?

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The merchants along Cambie Street were treated extremely badly by everyone involved with the RAV/Canada metro line subway construction project. Now, with Ms. Heyes winning a $600,000.00 lawsuit against TransLink, the legal floodgates have been opened for other merchants negatively affected by the RAV/Canada Line cut and cover subway construction to sue TransLink. The sad part of the whole affair is that no one gave a damn about their plight, but with a valiant Ms. Heyes taking on the RAV/TransLink Goliath and winning, has changed the game, so to speak.

Now Ms. Heyes award is under appeal, which is a crap-shoot for TransLink because the appeal could go against TransLink and the courts increasing the award! Here lies the conundrum for the cash strapped TransLink; either pay the award to Ms. Heyes and then fight every other lawsuit brought against TransLink re: subway construction or shake the dice and hope for “snake eyes“?

TransLink is broke and the impending deluge of lawsuits may just thrust the wooden stake of bankruptcy further into the TransLink corpse. From Zweisystem’s perspective, I hope it does! It is time to start over, from scratch.

From BCTVBC……….

The fight is coming just months after a court victory by small business owner Susan Heyes, who won $600000 in damages in a similar suit.

More merchants suing Canada Line construction

Updated: Sat Jan. 16 2010 18:38:01

ctvbc.ca

The list of Cambie Street merchants who are filing suit after being left in the lurch by the Canada Line construction is growing.

Roughly 40 businesses along the Canada Line are looking for millions in compensation after losing customers who couldn’t brave the construction zone to get to their stores.

“It was very depressing for a busy store where people are coming in and out all the time to where almost nobody was walking in the store at all,” said pharmacist Marvin Nider, one of the plaintiffs.

Nider says his store, Mark’s Plaza Pharmacy, lost about a million dollars over the course of the construction.

The suit, filed Friday, is on top of the class action lawsuit that has already been filed, involving 250 businesses in the Cambie Village alone.

In both suits the plaintiffs claim they were devastated by the cut and cover construction method. They argue that if the Canada Line had been built with a tunnel boring machine as originally planned, the businesses would not have lost as much.

Several plaintiffs in this week’s suit were businesses that failed during construction, such as Arroy-D Thai Restaurant, Don Don Noodle Café, and Hugo Restaurant.

Translink won’t comment on the lawsuit. But the stores are optimistic about a big payout. The fight is coming just months after a court victory by small business owner Susan Heyes, who won $600,000 in damages in a similar suit.

“The whole thing was opened up by Hazel and Company,” said Nider. “She put her neck on the line and we owe her a debt of gratitude.”

In the meantime business owners are waiting for the increased traffic from the Canada Line to bring revenues up to where they used to be.

Update, Monday @ 8:35 AM – from CKNW Radio………..

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980)
1/18/2010

A second group of Cambie Street businesses is seeking compensation for the impact caused by building the Canada Line with a cut-and-cover tunnel instead of a bored tunnel.

Over 40 merchants have filed a writ in BC Supreme Court saying the decision to change the method of tunnel construction “significantly impaired” access to their businesses.

Some were forced to close or relocate because of the giant trench in front of their stores, which was left open for at least 11 months.

The group says the nuisance could have been avoided by sticking with a bored tunnel and that the change constituted “unreasonable interference”.

A separate class action suit involving another 250 businesses has also been launched.

Maternity clothing store owner Susan Heyes was awarded $600-thousand in her own lawsuit last May. An appeal of that decision is ongoing.

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4 Responses to “Will legal woes derail TransLink?”

  1. John Says:

    Translink likely won’t technically go “bankrupt” anytime soon, as it’s not a private entity and the province would bail it out. But, it could become such a liability that public outrage would demand massive changes.

    I strongly support a directly elected Translink board. Sounds like a campaign whose time has come!!

    Zweisystem replies: What may happen is that TransLink may become untenable for political support. Despite last falls hype and hoopla, there wasn’t much public support to supply more money to TransLink, in fact the public seemed quite willing to see the outfit succumb to financial oblivion. I think the lack of public, as well political supports helped play a part in Prendergast’s leaving TransLink.

  2. David Says:

    I foresee a major restructuring and new governance modelled on the YVR authority. Whether or not that actually accomplishes much it will look like action and buy the Provincial government enough time to get through the next election.

  3. Another David Says:

    Translink and the Provincial Government were extremely arrogant for thinking they could get away with this, and now all British Columbians are going to have to pay for their lack of judgment. Maybe it’s just common sense, but it seems rather obvious to me that if you cause people to loose 75% of their business through your actions you ought to be held somewhat accountable. Especially if you promise to do things one way (the bored tunnel, which isn’t perfect either) then decide to do them another (cut and cover). It wouldn’t have been that difficult to offer these businesses low (or nearly no) interest loans to keep them afloat during the construction period, but no, no the government didn’t want to “set a precedent.” Funny how that worked out.

  4. mezzanine Says:

    @Another David

    There was no promise of a bored tunnel. The Heyes case did not lose due to misrepresentation (ie, ‘bait and switch’). It lost due to ‘nusiance’ which does set a worrisome precident.

    ” There is no evidence to support the allegation that the representation made in mid-2003 with respect to the method of tunnel construction was false or negligent. While that should have been apparent to the plaintiff and its counsel well in advance of trial, the claim in relation
    to that representation was not abandoned until the plaintiff’s closing submissions.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/bc/news/bc-090527-heyes-canada-line-ruling.pdf (page 30)

    Zweisystem replies: Mezz, it was implied that there was going to be a bored tunnel. TransLink plays fast and loose with the truth and yes legally bored tunnel was not promised, it was implied at meetings that it would be bored tunnel. Zwei knows of one Realtor that had been told by a TransLink official that it would be a bored tunnel and told potential clients that it was not going to be cut-and-cover, causing much future embarrassment!

    It is certain that Bombardier Inc. did not know that cut-and-cover subway construction was an option.

    I think the judge in the Susan Heyes case quite wisely rejected the allegations of the representation of cut-and-cover, for it would have opened a whole different can of legal worms.As for the nuisance claim, what is worrisome? That TransLink and InTransit BC did not give a damn about merchants along Cambie St., knowing at the time, no compensation would be made.

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