The CRC bureaucracy wants to tear up 30 square blocks of downtown Vancouver for several years and C-Tran wants to tear up several miles of Fourth Plain for a Bus Rapid Transit light rail feeder.
Both projects involve tearing up the roads, sidewalks and utilities crucial to hundreds of businesses that are already struggling to survive in this troubled economic environment. Neither project provides any compensation or provision for the losses that these businesses will experience as they are cut off from their customers and suppliers.
Listen as Michael W. Hurst tells his story of running a successful business in Portland only to have light rail construction drive him out of business after a year-long struggle. His home and business was located in the construction zone of the new light rail project MAX line in the 1980s.
What he did not expect, was the impact that the project would have on his ability to provide services to his customers. The construction along Burnside prevented customer access and cut off access to shipping and receiving for his and neighboring businesses.
Rather than hand digging around buried phone lines, contractors told him they’d rather slice through the cables with their backhoes and pay the fines than to take more time hand digging around those utilities in the trenches.
With no compensation plan from the city, after a year, Michael was forced out of business. He sold his means to earn a living and eventually moved to Vancouver.
Michael sees the same thing about happen here to hundreds of small business owners located downtown and along Fourth Plain. If citizens vote for light rail in Vancouver, they ought to know that there is no provision for these businesses to survive the construction and no compensation provided when they fail.