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Taylor criticizes Canada Line impact on merchants
B.C's former finance minister Carole Taylor was on the witness stand at the civil trial of a Cambie Street merchant suing over losses stemming from Canada Line construction.
She had harsh words about the hardships the transit project has forced on small businesses.
The case was brought on by maternity store owner Susan Heyes, who alleges her woman's clothing shop at Cambie and 16th has lost nearly a million dollars because of the project.
In his opening statement on Wednesday, Heyes's lawyer, Cameron Ward, told the court "this case is about a small business owner that was crushed and financially devastated by the irresponsible and wrongful actions of big business and big government."
He added that they wanted compensation for the losses Heyes incurred.
As MLA for part of the construction area, Taylor saw the full scope of project's impact and on the stand she didn't mince words about how devastating it was.
Taylor told the court that "the construction was far more disruptive than anyone had anticipated," not only because it was done with a cut and cover method as opposed to the promised bored tunnel but also because pledges to only disrupt individual businesses for a maximum of three months were never kept.
"My constituents certainly were affected. I tried very hard to help," said Taylor.
She also took aim at TransLink and the company building the line. Taylor says when she realized the full financial impact on businesses she tried to bring owners' concerns to project officials but got nowhere.
Taylor told the court: "it was like being on a rollercoaster. I'd get a call saying something was going forward and then it wasn't. It was quite disappointing."
Other Cambie merchants who have been badly hit say they hope this sets a precedent for proper compensation in the future.
And the mayor of Vancouver also weighed in on Wednesday.
"The principle of compensation for a mega project like this is very important. We can't see this happen again," said Gregor Robertson. "The judge is going to decide what happens in this case, that's obviously up to the judge to look at what comes forward, but from my perspective, this was an injustice."
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart.