VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – Vancouver merchants have filed a class action against the builders of the city’s much-hyped Canada-Line rapid transit route, considered essential to the city’s 2010 Olympic bid. Businesses on the Cambie Street corridor say the construction method used to build the line is designed to minimize costs and maximize profits for the line’s operators while forcing plaintiffs out of business.
Lead plaintiff Gary Guatam, owner of the Cambie General Store, and several other business owners claim the “cut and cover” construction method has discouraged pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the area.
Another portion of the line was built using the “bored tunnel” construction method, which “involves no disturbance to the surface of the Canada Line route between stations,” the complaint states.
Beginning in November 2005 and set to be completed in July 2009, the controversial project has put massive trenches along busy commuter routes in and out of the city, snarling traffic for months. The Canada Line, also known as the RAV (Richmond-Airport-Vancouver) Line, will link downtown Vancouver with the city’s airport and the large suburb of Richmond, the site of the Olympic speed-skating oval.
The construction “significantly impaired the ability of the public to conveniently access” their businesses, causing some to lose as much as 75% of their revenue, and others to move out or close down, the complaint states.
“(T)he construction of the Canada Line tunnel on Cambie Street in Cambie Village using the ‘cut and cover’ method was done knowingly and deliberately by the defendants, in order for the defendants to minimize the cost of construction of the Canada Line and thereby increase the profits that the defendant would ultimately enjoy from the operation of the Canada Line,” the complaint states.
Named as defendants are project managers Canada Line Rapid Transit, Intransit BC, Intransit British Columbia, and the project’s principle contractor, SNC-Lavalin.
The class is represented by R.J. Randall Hordo and Paul Bennett with Hordo & Bennett, Joseph Arvay with Arvay Finlay and Marilyn Sandford with Ritchie Sandford.