Kelowna business owner reacts to province’s new small business vandalism rebate

Click to play video: 'Rebate program launched for businesses hit by vandals'
Rebate program launched for businesses hit by vandals
WATCH: Some business owners in Kelowna say they're pleased to see the province stepping up to protect them, after it was announced that small business owners who have been impacted by vandalism will now be able to apply for a pair of grants. Jayden Wasney reports – Jul 27, 2023

A Kelowna, B.C., business owner is pleased to see the province stepping up for business owners, after it announced a new $10.5 million rebate for small businesses targeted by vandalism.

Co-owner of Queen of Floors Henry Beaudry recalls watching the surveillance footage after thieves smashed into his store along Enterprise Way back in March. The damage done put the business out thousands of dollars.

“We had about $60,000 worth of damage, theft and vehicles wrecked, and it’s ongoing,” said Queen of Floors co-owner, Henry Beaudry.

“Our neighbour next to us has been broken into 23 times in 11 months. It’s out of control.”

Click to play video: 'Youths vandalize vape shop in West Kelowna'
Youths vandalize vape shop in West Kelowna

Beaudry and his business partner opened up shop back in August of 2021. He says he had no idea just how bad the situation in Kelowna was.

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“Oh, not at all, I’m completely shocked at how bad it actually is,” said Beaudry.

“We moved away from Kelowna for about five years, and came back, and I guess we just weren’t aware of it the first time we moved here, but after we opened the store, that’s when our eyes really got opened.”

On Wednesday, the province announced small businesses will now be able to apply for as much as $2,000 to repair vandalism, and up to $1,000 for vandalism prevention initiatives. The funding will be retroactively available as a rebate as far back as Jan. 1 of this year.

Click to play video: 'Vandalism spree in Kelowna’s Pandosy Village area involves some 30 businesses'
Vandalism spree in Kelowna’s Pandosy Village area involves some 30 businesses

“It’s greatly appreciated, I mean any amount helps,” said Beaudry.

“Hopefully we and I mean we as business owners can apply it to better security systems — we’ll put it to work right away.”

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Downtown Kelowna Association executive director Mark Burley says the new grant program has been in the works for some time, and he’s pleased to see it finally rolled out.

“It’s been a long time coming, but we’re all glad it’s here,” expressed DKA executive director, Mark Burley.

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“Our advocacy committee has been working with the provincial government to get this fund set up for quite a few months now — even to the point that the premier was at our conference back in May, and he was the opening keynote speaker which was fabulous.”

Burley added that while the province has taken some big steps in dealing with repeat offenders, he feels more needs to be done to protect business owners.

“We need to get the people who are out here breaking windows, breaking in, stealing things, to stop happening and be off the street,” said Burley.

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“It’ll never 100 per cent be gone, but it would sure be nice if it was even at 50 per cent of what it is right now.”

The program is set to kick off in fall of 2023.

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