An open letter to Liberal leadership hopeful, Christy Clark
*** keep checking back in the comments section below this post for new information and documents relating to the years long legal battle of Cambie street business owner Susan Heyes.
This letter was sent to Christy Clark on Monday, February 21st, via email. I am very eager to hear her response now that she desires to be our new premier, and will post one if she responds. Of course Christy, you are always welcome to respond right here on the site !
One of the most unjust decisions by BC’s Appeal Court happened recently. The decision puts small businesses in jeopardy, but not by a government from the left this time, but by a government that came to be known as a bully in its approach to progress.
I am enclosing into this message something you wrote about in 2007 regarding the BC Liberals treatment of small business during the construction of the Canada Line.
The recent decision by BC’s Appeal Court denying Ms. Heyes compensation for her losses during the open-pit mining of Cambie Street is an injustice that must be corrected. If a government truly cared and listened to the appeals of the many small business owners there would have been no need to spends millions on legal fees to prop up their future ability to bully any project through without fully determining impacts to those most affected.
This injustice needs correcting and if the courts can no longer reflect the public good than politicians must do so. In the US and Europe part of the cost of conducting a project like the Canada Line project is mitigating impacts on those adjacent to the project. In some cases alterations are made to the project but usually it means compensating those for losses to their businesses.
Unfortunately we have had a government that would rather be seen as a bully and always finds enough bullies in this province to support even decisions it knows will cripple and/or ruin many small business owners livelihoods. With an office full of public affairs spin doctors, the Premier can sell dandelion juice as the elixir to happiness.
This must be corrected and you saw the light at the end of the cut and cover tunnel in 2007 and now must make this right…speak up for small business Christy before the leadership election. You will have several members of your party from small businesses that will appreciate your concern and commitment to make this and other wrongs right.
“That’s not the way it was supposed to work, at least not under the B.C. Liberals. They were supposed to be the people who understood the trials of keeping a small business open on slim margins.” Christy Clark 2007
Phil Le Good
White Rock, BC
Vancouver Province news – June 10, 2007
By: Christy Clark
The BC Government must support shattered Canada Line storeowners
Back in the 1990s, I used to travel the province pointing to empty shop windows. Those were the days when you could walk down the main street of almost any town in B.C. and see empty shops with “for rent” signs plastered on the windows.
While the rest of North America experienced what was perhaps the biggest economic expansion in history, B.C.’s economy tanked.
And when the economy dips, it’s the little guys who struggle. Hundreds of small businesses drowned in red ink. It was fertile ground for politicians hoping to convince voters that it was time for a change in government.
The B.C. Liberals pitched themselves as the small-business party, and voters gave them a chance to prove it.
The economy isn’t in the stinker anymore. But if you want to remember what those bad old days were like, take a walk down Vancouver’s Cambie Street. It looks a lot like Campbell River’s battered main drag in 1995.
The Canada Line construction through Cambie Village has made it next to impossible to get to those businesses, much less find a parking spot. And if you can find one within walking distance, good luck figuring out how to get around all the fencing!
If you do manage to get inside, you’ll find a shop owner who greets you with a look of both desperation and gratitude. You’ll quickly realize that’s because you’re the only customer they have.
The government says that’s the price of progress. It’s impossible to build a mammoth infrastructure project right through the middle of the urban core without disrupting local businesses. They say it’s too bad if some businesses go broke, but that’s the breaks.
Hold on a second here. That’s not the way it was supposed to work, at least not under the B.C. Liberals. They were supposed to be the people who understood the trials of keeping a small business open on slim margins.
The government is right that once construction is done, business will be brisk along Cambie. Unfortunately, most of the existing business owners won’t be there to reap the benefits. Rents will go up and new tenants will move in. But most of today’s operators will have moved or gone broke.
For anyone who owns one, a small business isn’t just a job, it’s a life’s dream. They risk their life savings, sometimes their homes, on the hope that, if they work hard enough, they’ll make a decent income.
Surely none of them thought that, despite their hard work, it would be a B.C. Liberal government that drove them out of business.
The NDP are championing some relief, and local MLA Gregor Robertson is proposing a tax holiday. It’s a start.
The government should go further. They should offer no- interest loans to bridge the businesses through the many months of construction.
Change always means disruption; you can’t build the biggest infrastructure project in B.C. history without it. But what is disruption for us is the death of a life’s dream for many of those business owners along the line.
Can’t add much more to that other than yes, it is time to make compensations for lost business etc, in cases where projects like the RAV line have the ability to ruin an otherwise thriving business. It should be considered part of the project cost from the beginning. Will Christy Clark stand up for small business in BC that are bullied by the government?
Time for Ms. Clark to put her money where her mouth is.
Now, scroll down and read some more damning tidbits about the province and our politicians.