B.C. should look south of the border for lessons on how to ease the plight of Cambie Street businesses paying the price for Canada Line construction, NDP MLA Gregor Robertson said yesterday.


Robertson rejected the government’s argument that compensating businesses would set a dangerous precedent. To prove his point, he brought Jaime Garcia to Vancouver to speak about a program to protect businesses affected by a transit project in Seattle.


“There wasn’t concern about precedent,” said Garcia, executive director of the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, which has handed out almost $10 million to more than 150 small businesses.


“My advice would be to consider it and don’t rule it out,” he said when asked what advice he had for Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon.


It is better for the economy to keep small businesses running, rather than letting them shut down, Garcia explained.

More than 40 businesses along Cambie Street have closed down since construction began, according to Robertson.