Coquitlam man blames SkyTrain construction for losing business, wants province to pay
Published Monday, November 11, 2019 8:06PM PST Last Updated Wednesday, November 13, 2019 9:29AM PST
COQUITLAM - Years after the launch of the Evergreen Line, a garage owner in Coquitlam says the provincial government owes him for the financial woes the construction allegedly caused his business.
Seeing Mike Shaw, owner of Clarke Hill Motors in Coquitlam working away in his auto shop you wouldn’t believe what he has been through.
“It’s been tough, but it’s getting better,” said Shaw.
A few years ago he lost his business and all of his savings, including his retirement funds. He even almost lost his life.
"I had a heart attack. The fact of the matter was stress got ahold of me and my body turned off, " said Shaw.
He is back on his feet now after three years of rebuilding his business from the ground up in a new location. When he lost his shop he kept working, transferring all of the business calls to his cellphone, and would rent out space in other people’s garages or do house calls just so he could keep serving his long-time clients.
“I’m still looking after the grandkids of the people that I originally started working with 40 years ago,” said Shaw.
But it hasn’t been easy and while he at least has his shop back up and running now he is still struggling.
“I’m in my mid-60s now and that’s a great time to be broke, tossed out and trying to start another business,” said Shaw.
He says his problems started as soon as construction for the Evergreen Line SkyTrain extension from Coquitlam to Port Moody began in 2013.
At the time, Shaw says the province assured him the construction of the line, which passed right beside his storefront on Lansdowne Drive, would hardly have an impact.
“They were just going over top of us and not interfering with the business at all,” said Shaw.
He says the reality was chaos. He started documenting it all, taking pictures of crews constantly blocking the roadway. His clients even say they were refused access.
“It was terrible. I had to come in a few times and the flaggers wouldn’t let me go in,” said longtime client Barbara Young.
“Going to take my cars there not being able to get through and the rudeness of the construction people there,” said another longtime client, Lorna Allen.
Shaw says he approached the province several times.
“I gave them booklets of pictures every day plus the accounting for the day,” said Shaw.
The Ministry of Transportation did not respond to CTV News’ request for comment but Shaw says his concerns fell on deaf ears while his business slowly went under.
“They don’t care,” he said.
Now, after years of getting his life together, Shaw says he is at the point where he has the time and energy to try and get the Province to pay.
"They owe me. I believe they owe me,” said Shaw.
But that, too, will be an obstacle. He says he’s had trouble finding a lawyer to take his case.
“The long and short of it is they don’t think the province is going to budge for anything,” said Shaw.