Small businesses in B.C. will soon be able to apply for grants for vandalism repairs and prevention.
Jobs and Economic Development Minister Brenda Bailey announced up to $10.5 million to give small business the relief from the cost of vandalism. Bailey made the announcement in Vancouver’s Chinatown Wednesday (July 26), which has been hard hit by vandalism in recent years.
Chinatown BBQ owner Carol Lee said that as one of the many businesses owners in Chinatown, this is a welcome relief and she anticipates there will be a lot of enthusiasm in the neighbourhood because of it.
“Every business owner dreads walking up to their storefront to see it vandalized. At a time where every dollar counts, repair costs greatly impact bottom line and, as I realize this might not address all the root problems of crime, it is a huge step forward to help us alleviate these economic burdens on small businesses.”
Business owners will be able to apply to up to $2,000 for the cost of repairs or $1,000 for vandalism prevention. It will begin in the fall and will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2023.
Broken glass and graffiti cleaning are eligible under the vandalism repairs criteria and security cameras or gates are eligible for prevention funding.
Information on how to apply will be available in the coming months, but Bailey said the province will be working with boards of trade, chambers of commerce and business improvement associations to make businesses aware.
B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO Fiona Famulak said many businesses have seen increased costs for vandalism, noting the myriad of complex issues communities are facing these days.
“Business owners, particularly small business owners, are incurring costs to protect themselves, their staff, their customers and their businesses.”
She added the chamber believes that the health of a community is the direct function of a healthy business community.
“If businesses are growing, prospering, creating jobs and keeping people employed, then their workers and their workers’ families will contribute to the success of the local economy.”
But the reverse is also true, Famulak said.
“If businesses struggle then the community will struggle also.”
The Securing Small Business rebate program is part of the province’s Safer Communities Action Plan.