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Cambie merchant awarded $600K in Canada Line lawsuit

VANCOUVER -- A four-year ordeal is over for a former Cambie Street merchant who sued the government over lost business due to construction of the Canada Line.

A B.C. Supreme Court Justice has awarded Susan Heyes $600,000 in damages due to business losses from construction of the high-profile rapid transit project, which will link Downtown Vancouver with Vancouver International Airport and Richmond when it opens later this year.

"I'm thrilled about this. This is a long time coming," Heyes said Wednesday after learning of the result. "It's been four years."

In a trial earlier this year, Heyes, who owns a maternity wear store, claimed she had lost some $900,000 in gross profit as a result of the so-called "cut-and-cover" construction method of the line. Her store has since moved from Cambie to Main Street.

For years, local businesses had unsuccessfully sought compensation from the province.

The trial featured testimony from former B.C. Liberal MLA Carole Taylor, who told the court she was surprised at how "disruptive" construction of the mega-project turned out to be for local merchants.

But she felt the province had been powerless to intervene. The former cabinet minister said she felt further handcuffed by a public-private partnership agreement that placed control in the hands of TransLink and the building consortium, Canada Line Rapid Transit Co.

It's not yet clear whether the decision will be appealed. In a statement, lawyers for Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc. said they were still reviewing the decision.

"It will take some time to review the judgement in detail," CLCO lawyer George Macintosh said in a prepared statement.

"Once we have done that we will consider the options available to us. Constructing infrastructure projects in congested urban areas is always difficult."

Irwin Loy reports for 24 Hours Vancouver.

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