Heli-skiing company sues VANOC, police
By Keith Fraser, The ProvinceFebruary 16, 2010
A heli-skiing company is suing VANOC and the police over restrictive security procedures that it says has resulted in job layoffs and the suspension of operations.
Coast Range Heliskiing Ltd. says that in August last year it was approached by the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (ISU), which is comprised of police responsible for security during the Olympic Games.
ISU told the company that starting in Jan. 29 this year, its clients would have to be subjected to security and goods screening before boarding helicopters headed for back-country ski excursions, says a statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court.
The new security procedures make it “impossible” for the company to carry on its business and would require it to transport its clients to the Pemberton Airport before they could board the helicopters, it says.
Normally, clients board the choppers at staging areas adjacent to the terrain to be skied.
“The security and goods screening procedures are unlawful and unnecessary, unreasonably interfere with the plaintiff’s business operations and frustrate the performance of the [business] licence,” says the lawsuit.
“The plaintiff has attempted to mitigate its losses by laying off its employees and discontinuing its business for the 2010 winter season.”
The procedures, which would have to be repeated before each ski excursion, would result in prohibitive transportation and helicopter fuel costs and in delays in having clients undergo the security checks.
By refusing to compensate the company for its losses, while agreeing to compensate other businesses for similar losses, VANOC and the other named defendants have discriminated against the firm, it adds.
The company, which says it has been successfully operating for several years without interference or security restrictions, is seeking general and special damages, including loss of revenues, loss of profits, loss of goodwill and increased expenses, past and future.
No statement of defence has been filed. A statement of claim contains allegations that have not been proven in court.
A spokeswoman for VANOC said yesterday there would be no comment since the matter is before the courts.