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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 1:07 AM
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mr.x mr.x is offline
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More Cambie Street merchants file lawsuit over Canada Line

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Cambie Street merchants file lawsuit over Canada Line

By NEAL HALL, Vancouver Sun
January 18, 2010 3:50 PM

VANCOUVER -- More Cambie Street merchants have filed a lawsuit seeking damages for disruption to their businesses caused by building the Canada Line rapid transit system from downtown Vancouver to Richmond.

Last year, one Cambie Street merchant, maternity store owner Susan Heyes, won her court case and was awarded more than $600,000 in damages.

That decision is under appeal, which is scheduled to be heard in April.

Now more than 40 other businesses along Cambie Street have filed a lawsuit, alleging the Canada Line was initially going to be built using a bored tunnel but it was decided to instead use the more disruptive cut-and-cover construction method.

The latest legal action states the construction of a pit that was five-storeys deep was a "nuisance" that significantly impaired the ability of the public to access the businesses, which range from Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre to restaurants, grocery stores and a hairstyling salon.

Some businesses were forced to close or chose to relocate before the $2-billion Canada Line began operating last year.

Cameron Ward, the lawyer who handled the Susan Heyes legal action, is also handling the latest lawsuit, which names as defendants Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc., South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, Intransit B.C. Limited Partnership and Intransit British Columbia G.P. Ltd.

Earlier, a class-action lawsuit representing another 250 business was filed in B.C. Supreme Court. After hearing legal arguments last November, Justice Ian Pitfield has reserved judgment on the whether the action will be certified as a class-action.

nhall@vancouversun.com
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Mor...562/story.html



$600,000 in "damages"....
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 5:29 AM
lightrail lightrail is offline
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Really hope the courts overturn this decision - it goes against the public good outweighing private interests.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 5:37 AM
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I almost wonder if they would have been more likely to win their cases if they had submitted their suits individually. Any court is bound to look at 40 cases, multiply by the precedent case set by Hazel & Co., and after getting a phonecall from their higher ups, they'd be inclined to throw out the case.
But individually, I'm sure there are one or two very good cases that would be reasonable to go all the way.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 6:32 AM
zivan56 zivan56 is offline
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A guy I know went from earning money to going into the red quickly and having to remortgage his home to keep the business afloat and having to close soon after. I certainly hope he gets compensated.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 6:36 AM
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"the Canada Line was initially going to be built using a bored tunnel but it was decided to instead use the more disruptive cut-and-cover construction method."

That's the key part to me. Were there any negotiations or contracts signed between the contractors and the businesses about this ? If it is true that cut-and-cover was used and caused unnecessary disruptions when bored tunnels was previously agreed to, then the businesses may have a case.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 6:41 AM
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I don't think it is outlandish that they could be compensated. However, it has to be a reasonable amount. I do not for one second believe that woman lost $600,000.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 9:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yume-sama View Post
I don't think it is outlandish that they could be compensated. However, it has to be a reasonable amount. I do not for one second believe that woman lost $600,000.
$600,000 over a year isn't that much for a moderatly successful business, not including court-awarded damages, legal costs, etc. To give you an idea of how much money it takes to run a business, my boss told me once that my factory needs to move $30,000 worth of product every three days to stay profitable.

Do I agree with the number awarded? Not without knowing more about the details, but I will agree with what others have said: if there was a hard, paper contract signed that it would be bored and they switched to cut-and-cover on their own, then I hope the plaintiffs get all that they deserve.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 9:36 AM
deasine deasine is offline
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It was assumed that bored tunnels were the method of choice because that was in the Bombardier proposal. Originally, the public consultations for the concept of the Canada Line focused its basis on bored tunnels. Everyone thought Bombarder was going to win, but SNC-Lavalin and ROTEM won instead.

So if you say, did the Canada Line say they were going to construct it as bored tunnel? Well, in a sense yes, but that wasn't really confirmed because that was the conceptual stage anyway. When SNC-Lavalin was announced as the winner, their method of construction was cut-and-cover and the public consultations during the detailed design did say it was cut-and-cover.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 2:43 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoryHolmes View Post
$600,000 over a year isn't that much for a moderatly successful business, not including court-awarded damages, legal costs, etc. To give you an idea of how much money it takes to run a business, my boss told me once that my factory needs to move $30,000 worth of product every three days to stay profitable.

Do I agree with the number awarded? Not without knowing more about the details, but I will agree with what others have said: if there was a hard, paper contract signed that it would be bored and they switched to cut-and-cover on their own, then I hope the plaintiffs get all that they deserve.
A factory is a different kind of business than the stores on Cambie.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 4:52 PM
nova9 nova9 is offline
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I can't think of any store along Cambie Village that would make that much. There's nothing of interest there, I go there fr Gloucester and Corner 23 (both Chinese restaurants). how could her dinky, non-trendy little clothing store possibly make or lose that much money?
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  #11  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 5:06 PM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deasine View Post
So if you say, did the Canada Line say they were going to construct it as bored tunnel? Well, in a sense yes, but that wasn't really confirmed because that was the conceptual stage anyway. When SNC-Lavalin was announced as the winner, their method of construction was cut-and-cover and the public consultations during the detailed design did say it was cut-and-cover.
I'm with you, which is why I'd like to see what the specific ruling was with respect to the $600k. If it revolved entirely around the "promised bored tunnel" argument, I think it should be tossed out.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 5:12 PM
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I am really interested in what the supreme court says. Even though Intransit is a P3, I think the interests of the greater good still come into play here.

And FWIW I think her store sells upscale baby clothes for moms with too much spare time and a bad case of affluenza.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 7:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NetMapel View Post
"the Canada Line was initially going to be built using a bored tunnel but it was decided to instead use the more disruptive cut-and-cover construction method."

That's the key part to me. Were there any negotiations or contracts signed between the contractors and the businesses about this ? If it is true that cut-and-cover was used and caused unnecessary disruptions when bored tunnels was previously agreed to, then the businesses may have a case.
The winning InTransitBC bid never proposed a bored tunnel through Cambie Village. Ever.

A bored tunnel may have been mentioned in public consultations or in the multiple account evaluation studies.
But not in the winning bid - and there was no restriction in the Request for Proposals requiring the bids to use a bored tunnel.

In an open competition, you select from the submitted bids.
That may or may not be the same as the "artist's concept" that was discussed with the public during consultations.
I suspect that staffers (who would have no clue as to the bids submitted) may have made assumptions they shouldn't have.

i.e. the the image of the Golden Ears Bridge that was circulated during consultations was a boring viaduct style bridge - but the winning bidder proposed a cable-stayed bridge .
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  #14  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 7:25 PM
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Originally Posted by twoNeurons View Post
A factory is a different kind of business than the stores on Cambie.
Let's see, her case covers the business lost between 2005 and 2008, let's just call it 3.5 years, so that's 42 months, that will work out to be a little over $14k/month, less than $500/day. I don't know, with rent and wages and merchandise cost, it doesn't seem way out there...
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  #15  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 7:31 PM
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Originally Posted by nova9 View Post
I can't think of any store along Cambie Village that would make that much. There's nothing of interest there, I go there fr Gloucester and Corner 23 (both Chinese restaurants). how could her dinky, non-trendy little clothing store possibly make or lose that much money?
$600,000 a year is less than $1700 in sales per day. That's not that much. Let's say in a 10 hour day, that's $170 per hour, or 100 customers spending $17, or 10 customers spending $17 per hour. So:

Capers easily did $600,000 a year.
Choices no doubt does over $600,000 a year.
Shoppers Drug Mart no doubt does over 600,000 a year.
White Spot probably does over $600,000 a year.
The Park cinema probably does over $600,000 a year.
Safeway definitely does over $600,000 a year.
Fitness World probably does over $600,000 a year.
Perhaps the 4 liquor stores between 18th and 8th each do over $600,000 a year.
Even Starbucks and Blenz might do over $600,000 a year

and at the other end of the street:
Home Depot, Winners, Canadian Tire, Save On Foods, Choices and Best Buy each definitely does over $600,000 a year.


So yes, there is potential for many many businesses to claim at LEAST as much money as Hazel and Co was lost. And all of the companies listed above suffered at least for a period during the construction.

Also remember: Hazel and Co. was one of only 2 clothing stores in the main Cambie Village area (the other was One Tooth, which is now gone too). So for the average woman there were not many other clothing options, and for the pregnant woman it was the only option. So they probably did have a very specific but loyal local following. Consequently I don't think doing $600,000 a year for them is that unrealistic.

* * *
edit
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoogalieBear
Let's see, her case covers the business lost between 2005 and 2008, let's just call it 3.5 years, so that's 42 months, that will work out to be a little over $14k/month, less than $500/day. I don't know, with rent and wages and merchandise cost, it doesn't seem way out there...
Bearing that in mind (sorry, I thought I read above that Hazel & Co was claiming $600k over 1 year), if we're talking $600k over 3.5 years, that level of revenue is even more realistic to achieve. So all of the stores I listed above PLUS MANY MORE would have easily made $600,000 over *three-and-a-half* years!

Last edited by djh; Jan 19, 2010 at 7:42 PM.
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  #16  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 7:36 PM
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I suppose the flip side is that the businesses that now benefit should make payments to InTransitBC/Canada Line Co for increased business.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 7:49 PM
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Thank you, that is how I feel as well.

Also, how much of the losses were construction related? Some stores naturally fail during the best of times. Also, how much of these losses were more related to the downturn in the economy, where many once profitable niche businesses lost money and/or closed.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 7:53 PM
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BTW - If I recall correctly, the lawsuit failed on claims of misrepresentation (i.e. it failed on the "bait & switch" "bored to cut & cover" claims) but succeeded on the basis of nuisance (which is potentially much much worse (in terms of setting a precedent) for any governmental entity building infrastructure (i.e. roads, sewers, watermains, etc.).
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 8:02 PM
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Which is ridiculous. I find it funny that people want good infrastructure (transit, utilities, highways, etc...) and they also want lower taxes.

Well I am afraid that to have good infrastructure mega projects have to occur, and with aging utilities (unless people want more ruptured sewers and blackouts) and decaying roads, digging up streets is going to become far more common in the future.

But if we make such projects far more expensive than they need to be (through lawsuits and far more expensive construction methods), then how are we going to get the money to do so? (again considering people want lower taxes). This is the oxymoron of this situation.
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  #20  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 8:26 PM
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Perhaps they should sue the Save Cambie Coalition as well.

If it were not for those dogooder environmentalists trying to save a tree given to us by Japan, the entire line South of King Ed could have been elevated and the section under Cambie village bored, as was outlined in Bombardiers original proposal. But their insistence of saving the median and its "heritage trees" drove up the price of Bombardiers original proposal too much (As well as provincial laws prohibiting the combination of contracts).

The cut and cover option wasn't a sneaky ploy for a company to make extra profit off us. It was a decision we made because the people in the area valued the trees more than businesses.

If anyone should be paying these businesses it's the City of Vancouver for abandoning their businesses in favor of a median, not Translink or InTransitBC.
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