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

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

Just Posted

More than 700 people have signed a petition requesting tighter regulations on cigarette boats on Shuswap Lake. (Pixabay photo)
Noisy boats stir up Sicamous council

Councillors discuss regulation, supporting new Shuswap and Mara Lakes Decibel Coalition

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Vanilla flavouring contains goo from beaver butts

Your morning start for Friday, May 7, 2021

The Canadian Mental Health Association Shuswap Revelstoke’s homeless outreach coordinator Carly Shipmaker and practicum student Sarena Bryden take a turn on Thursday, May 6 on the stationary bike. They were cycling under the blue sun canopy outside the CMHA thrift shop to promote Mental Health Week and to prepare for this year’s Ride Don’t Hide event in June. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Getting the wheels turning for Salmon Arm’s Ride Don’t Hide event

Canadian Mental Health Association awareness and fundraising campaign to run throughout June

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Interior Health provided updated data breaking down the vaccine administration totals in communities throughout the region on Monday, May 3, 2021. (File photo)
Nearly 40% of Shuswap adults vaccinated

More than 12,000 people in the Salmon Arm health area received their first COVID-19 vaccine

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

15,000 sleep sacks worth $500,000 will be distributed to mothers and young families in need across Canada. (Contributed)
Kelowna non-profit to distribute $500K-worth of ‘sleep sacks’ across Canada

The sleep sacks were donated to Mamas for Mamas to distribute to mothers in need

Armstrong Elementary School teacher Heather Ramsey, left, presents a card including original printing work she completed in Grade 1 as a student of Helen Sidney’s, right. (SD83)
Retired Armstrong teacher continues tradition of supporting students with $100K donation

Helen Sidney, who taught at AES for 41 years, made an incredible donation ahead of the school’s centennial

The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street officially opened on March 31, 2021. (Brennan Phillips)
Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District reverses funding decision on care centre

Approval now granted to fund $1 million for Urgent and Primary Care Centre in Penticton

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
New temporary outdoor shelter in Kelowna opens

The new area on Richter Street and Weddell Place replaces the Baillie Avenue site

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Most Read