bc-100303-marios-gelati

Mario Loscerbo sits in front of his Vancouver gelato shop, which he claims is virtually inaccessible because of the security perimeter for the nearby Olympic Village. ((Evan Mitsui/CBC))

A popular Vancouver gelato shop is suing Olympic organizers and three levels of government for the disruption the Olympics caused to his business during pre-Games road construction.

Mario's Gelati, south of downtown near the athletes' village, has filed a statement of claim in B.C. Supreme Court seeking damages from VANOC, the City of Vancouver, the B.C. government and the federal government for the effects of road work last year.

City officials initially promised construction in front of the shop would only take a month to complete, and the road and sidewalk would be restored to its original condition afterwards, the business alleged in the statement of claim.

The statement said the project instead went on for seven months, lasting through the busy summer season, and the work is still affecting business.

In an interview with CBC News on Feb. 17, owner Mario Loscerbo said his sales were down $1 million since September. He also lost money when several offers from Olympic officials to rent the ballroom on his building's top floor for events during the Games fell through, Loscerbo said.

The lawsuit appeared to echo some of the arguments made by a Cambie Street merchant affected by the construction of the Canada Line rapid transit expansion in a case that saw that business owner awarded $600,000 last year.

The allegations in the Mario's Gelati statement of claim have not yet been tested in court.