February 6, 2019 1:54 pm
Updated: February 6, 2019 3:00 pm

Commercial Drive businesses set to launch court action against FortisBC over 1st Ave. closure

WATCH: A group of Vancouver business owners are suing FortisBC over losses they say they suffered during the pipeline replacement construction last summer.

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Several business owners on Commercial Drive say they are taking FortisBC to court over construction on East 1st Avenue last summer.

FortisBC shut down the road for 10 weeks as they replaced an aging natural gas line, and some businesses say the closure affected their bottom line.

The company says they worked hard to help the businesses but owners like Federico Fuoco of Federico’s Supper Club say otherwise.

Globalnews.ca of the East 1st Avenue road closure

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“I had customers tell me they were avoiding Commercial Drive like the plague,” he said.

About a dozen owners say they suffered revenue losses of up to 50 per cent because of the closure and claim the company promised to help but didn’t.

“They kept saying to us that they would do it and it was just a matter of time, and then for them to renege like that and tell us to lawyer up was quite a surprise actually, quite a shock,” Fuoco said.

FortisBC says it has not yet been served any court documents.

READ MORE: Commercial Drive businesses threaten to sue Fortis over business lost during 1st Ave. closure

In a statement, the company said:

“While construction was underway on East 1st Avenue, we worked directly with businesses to understand how we could help support them. This support included maintaining access for customers and deliveries, signage and offering a range of promotional opportunities.”

Talk of legal action comes as FortisBC prepares for a similar project along Como Lake Avenue in Coquitlam.

Fuoco says residents shouldn’t take the project lightly.

“When you have losses up to 50 per cent, it’s not a joke anymore,” Fuoco said. “That’s serious stuff.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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