The Vermilion Trail Society filed its lawsuit against the Town of Princeton in 2017. Photo Andrea DeMeer

Five day trial needed to resolve custody of small town caboose

The Town of Princeton and the Vermilion Trail Society (VTS) are chugging towards a lengthy trial to decide the fate of the Princeton caboose.

At a pretrial conference in small claims court Thursday, March 12, Judge Greg Koturbash estimated the matter would take five days to resolve.

He ordered a request for a special Princeton court sitting, as circuit court is held here only once each month for a maximum of two days.

While noting the case is interesting, Koturbash expressed a wish to be “on holidays” during that time.

Matthew Voell, counsel for the Town of Princeton, and Jaimie Kidston, representing the VTS, each said they had eight witnesses to bring forward.

“There is not a lot of documentary evidence in this case,” said Voell. “The evidence is going back 20 to 25 years. A lot of the evidence is recollections of historic conversations and meetings.”

Related: Princeton caboose restored

The trial is expected to settle the issue of who gets custody of the caboose, currently parked behind Subway near Highway 3.

The conflict arose in May 2017, when the VTS accused a previous town council and administration of train robbery, lodged a complaint with the RCMP and filed a lawsuit against the municipality.

A year earlier, town staff had moved the caboose from its home along the KVR trail, at the intersection of Bridge Street and Highway 3, to its present location.

The municipality placed newspaper ads, seeking a partner who might use the rail car to host a tourism-based enterprise.

Both the town and the VTS said they could prove ownership of the artifact, which has been located at various places in Princeton over the years including at the fairgrounds, downtown and at the museum.

Related: Town of Princeton still accused of train robbery

The original lawsuit sought $6,608 for damages caused to its fence when the caboose was moved, $20 for a lock and $28,371 for unspecified damages.

That claim also estimated the caboose’s value at $60,000.

It was later altered, adjusting the caboose’s value in order to keep the total damages below $35,000 and therefore within the sphere of a small claims judgment.

While a provincial court does not have the authority to decide ownership of the conveyance, the society is now suing for return of personal property.

Last week, while discussing whether experts would be required to assess the caboose’s actual worth, Kidston said: “I don’t see where the value of this makes any difference because either one side or the other is going to get the caboose.”

The trial is expected to be scheduled for some time this summer.

Related: Princeton’s caboose battle pulls back into court

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Richter Street bridge restoration to start on July 6

Two-way traffic will be maintained on Richter Street with intermittent interruptions

Finale of seven-week food drive arrives at FreshCo Kelowna

The new grocery store has partnered with the organization for a food drive

‘We need to re-think our systems’: Kelowna mayor on RCMP Southeast Division statement

The RCMP held a news conference on Thursday, July 2 to address concerns in the force

Witness helps Kelowna police track down alleged impaired driver

The driver allegedly hit a pedestrian walking on the side of the road

Driver walks away after rolling McLaren on Highway 5A

RCMP is looking for witnesses to the crash that happened on Canada Day

A list of charge rates or Crown referrals from police oversight bodies across Canada

Here are the rates of charges or referrals to the Crown from their most recent annual reports or online data

Highway 1 remains closed near Revelstoke due to flooding

The Needles Ferry is also experiencing major delays due to traffic backed up from Highway 1

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

Noose graffiti not tolerated by Vernon resident

Woman, son paint over hateful image painted on neighbourhood fence

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Most Read