Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has ordered TransLink to pay three different business for disruptive construction practices that took place over a decade ago.
The case surrounded a stretch of Canada Line construction that took place throughout Cambie Village between November 2005 and July 2009.
The involved plaintiffs were Festival Cinamas Inc., Dale Dubberley, and Gary Gautam, who ran the Park Theatre, Thai Away Home, and the Cambie General Store, respectively.
Claims from businesses included nuisance and pursuant to amendments in injurious affection.
The court document explains injurious affection as a “consolation prize,” of sorts when land is not expropriated but is seriously affected by public work done through an outside authority.
The key claim that was made during the court case was based on the lengthy amount of interference that was caused due to TransLink using a “cut and cover method.”
The cut-and-cover method is a way of constructing shallow tunnels by excavating a trench and roofing it with an overhead support.
Use of this method, however, necessitated refinishing and repaving the surface of the road.
The court case argues that had a tunnel boring method been used, the repaving would have been unnecessary.
The Honourable Mr. Justice Grauer stated that the construction of the Canada Line interfered with “the use and enjoyment by owners or business proprietors in the Cambie Village.”
Also, it wasn’t just the restricted access that caused a nuisance for business owners but the length of time over which access was restricted as well.
Translink argued that the repaving and refinishing was a process that occurs often in the city and ultimately, is “a benefit to businesses on the street.”
However, while the work may have ended with a benefit, the losses experienced by businesses were undeniable.
Between 2004 and 2006, Thai Away Home operated with annual net incomes ranging from $107,000 to $135,000. The next two years saw the restaurant operating at a loss.
Similarly, the Park Theatre, located on 3344 Cambie Street, saw as much as a 90% decrease in net income from 2007 to 2009, as compared to their earnings in ’06.
Translink was ordered to pay the following amounts:
The decision was made on Tuesday, September 4, by the Honourable Mr. Justice Grauer.
For the Millennium Line Broadway Extension, regional planners have elected to use the method of bored tunnelling under Broadway to reduce the level of disruption. However, the process to build each of the six stations will likely require some localized cut-and-cover trench construction.