Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ice cream vendor says business has taken a licking

When ice cream salesman Mario Loscerbo heard the Olympic Athlete's Village was going up across the street from his business, he thought it was a great opportunity. "The city of Vancouver told me that I will cash in during the Olympics.

As soon as the athletes arrive you'll see the buzz," he said. But with only days to go before the Games kick off, Mario's Gelati sits empty. "No sales all day today, since 8 o clock this morning," he told CTV News. Loscerbo's store sits behind a mess of fences and concrete blocks. He says he has lost $1 million in sales, and he wants compensation from the city, VANOC and the RCMP. He is threatening legal action.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson wouldn't comment on camera Tuesday but city staff told CTV News they have tried to make amends. They say they have put up signs to let visitors know Mario's Gelati is open for business. The signs are similar to the ones that pushed visitors to businesses along Cambie Street during the construction of the Canada Line.

One merchant who lost business sued the Canada Line project and won a $600,000 judgment. Others are hoping for a victory in a class-action suit that was certified this week. Lawyer Mike Thomas says the Canada Line case means Loscerbo's suit could have merit.


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