The B.C. Court of Appeal has overturned a ruling that awarded $600,000 in damages to a former Cambie Street merchant for losses incurred due to the construction of the Canada Line.
In 2009, Susan Heyes, owner of the maternity-wear store Hazel & Co., had won a B.C. Supreme Court decision that held TransLink, Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc., and InTransit B.C. Limited Partnership liable for nuisance.
In an unanimous decision today (February 18), three appeals court justices found that the appellants had the legal authority to build the rapid-transit line using cut-and-cover construction.
“Nuisance was an inevitable result of exercising that authority because there was no practically feasible alternative to the SNC-Lavalin/Serco proposal, which included cut and cover construction, and, in any event, because there was no construction method that provided a non-nuisance alternative in building the Canada Line,” Justice Kathryn Neilson wrote in the ruling.
In a statement today, Heyes blasted the appeals court's decision, saying it "failed to protect the rights of citizens, and has failed to uphold justice and fairness in a democratic society".
"The Canada Line project was built on the backs of hundreds of blindsided small business people along the Cambie corridor," Heyes wrote.
"The project chose the most disruptive of several methods of construction. This discretionary and confidential decision alone should have negated the defence of Statutory Authority which the Appeal Court Justices used today as the basis for their ruling."
Heyes's statement suggested that she would try to take her case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
"The outcome of this litigation will set a precedent for all small businesses across Canada," Heyes stated. "The precedent that it sets should be just and fair, and reasonable. When governments use their powers to confiscate value for the common good – individuals must be compensated."
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