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Cambie merchants say 2010 road plan another blow
Cambie Street merchants, already suffering losses due to the construction of the Canada Line, are now saying the 2010 Olympic Transportation Plan adds insult to injury.
Having racked up financial losses during the two years of the project's construction along the route, many business owners fear they will have gone broke long before the Olympic flame is lit and the 2010 tourists arrive with their cash.
Cambie Street will have designated Olympic Lanes running along it and parking restrictions in force from 59th Avenue to the Cambie Bridge during the Games and for several weeks before it begins.
Local NDP MLA Jenn McGinn believes up to 50 businesses are close to shutting down or have already moved out.
"They want to have their concerns addressed early," said McGinn, "The minimum they should get is an apology. The business community didn't know what they were up for... These guys really need our help."
Angela Reis, the owner of Kamakis Greek Taverna, opened her restaurant on Cambie two-and-a-half years ago. She says she was aware of the construction and tightened her belt accordingly; the fact that no customers will be able to park along Cambie is a real blow and could lead to her business's demise.
"How's business? Pretty terrible. I'll be here three-four hours a night and maybe we have two tables. Some nights we have none," she said. "We have a few good nights but most nights it's very rough. We opened for lunches... in order to survive, but our profits were way down. For every good night you may have 10 really bad nights."
She said business before the constructions started in February 2007 was good.
"It was great. We were busy almost every night," said Reis.
After it started, her diners had views of a Porta-Potty set up outside her window.
McGinn says she is four months behind in her rent because of the lack of business and $40,000 in debt. She hopes to save the restaurant by going into partnership with her chef.
Six months from now the nearby Canada Line station will open up and business will boom once again, but Reis doesn't think she can stay open that long, in fact she could close within days.
Meanwhile, Cambie maternity store owner Susan Heyes was in court Monday suing the provincial government for damages.
Some MLAs tried to avoid appearing in court, but a judge ruled former finance minister Carole Taylor must testify in the case.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's St. John Alexander.