Commercial property owners in Duncan will have the opportunity this year to receive help to augment security on their properties.
The City of Duncan has given approval for $10,000 to be set aside in 2021 for the municipality’s new enhanced security initiative pilot program, which is a matching grant opportunity for commercial property owners to apply for any new safety or security project that they choose, with a 50 per cent reimbursement, up to a maximum of $1,000.
Rachel Hastings, Duncan’s manager of building and bylaw services, told council at its meeting on April 6 that examples of eligible security enhancements include video surveillance equipment, security systems, enhanced lighting of the exterior of the building, parking lots and laneways, and deadbolt or door lock enhancements.
She said all commercial buildings in the city will be eligible to apply for a one-time ESIPP grant to be evaluated by a review committee, which may consist of the manager of building and bylaw services with one or two members of South Cowichan Community Policing.
“Various criteria will be utilized during the selection process which may include location in relation to high crime rates, high calls for service, main travel corridors and within these areas where applicants are in good standing with the City of Duncan,” Hastings said.
“Once the application has been approved, the applicant would have three months to complete the approved enhancements and submit for their reimbursement.”
Hastings said the pilot program is based on Port Alberni’s profoundly successful enhanced security initiative program, in which that municipality works with its commercial property owners to implement measures that could provide a positive impact on community safety, and enhance the security and protection of their buildings and surrounding properties.
“Staff are requesting early budget approval for the 2021 pilot project, with the possibility of annual ongoing grant opportunities for all property owners, residential and commercial, if the ESIPP is successful in 2021,” she said.
Monika Schittek, Duncan’s acting director of corporate services, said the city’s bylaw team will help get the word out about the new pilot program by speaking directly to city businesses best suited to use it.
“We’ll also look for input from the public on identifying areas of concern, and we’ll put information about the program on our website,” she said.
Coun. Carol Newington said she has friends in Port Alberni who took advantage of that city’s program.
“It was quite successful,” she said.