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 Princeton’s 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

.—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Mainly clear and sunny skies are expected for the Okanagan-Shuswap region this week. (Maxpixels photo)
Warm, sunny week ahead in Okanagan-Shuswap

Daytime highs will reach the low 20s with mainly clear skies this week

File photo
Trip for cigarettes costs Princeton man $500 and a lecture

You’ve got to start obeying the rules of the road, says judge

The health authority will occupy the building until October 31, 2021. File Photo
Health authority pays town $7.4K monthly to lease Riverside Centre

Facility is being rented for COVID vaccinations

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s mass vaccination program will be delivered to Princeton residents from a clinic set up at the Riverside Community Centre. (Darryl Dyck/CP photo)
COVID vaccinations bookings began for local residents last week

Riverside serves as Princeton’s appointment centre

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

A car sheared a Hydro pole and the driver was pinned by a fence pole on 43rd Avenue Saturday, April 10. (Carmen Jaster photo)
Suspected impaired driver ‘lucky to be alive’ after crash in Vernon yard

Impaired driving investigation underway after driver shears Hydro pole and narrowly misses being impaled

A crane stands in the middle of a fire-ravaged Glenmore Road construction site on Thursday, April 8. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Evacuation order remains in effect around burned Kelowna construction site

Assessment of potentially risky crane to take place this afternoon

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Most Read