‘I’d feel a lot more secure’: Lethbridge business owner concerned over long wait for security system installation

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. –

Lethbridge business owners looking to add security measures to their store may have to wait, as one local roll shutter company says they’re dealing with major supply chain shortages. One downtown business owner has waited over three months to have roll shutters installed following a string of break-ins last year, leaving him at risk of another.

Meanwhile David Clark, who owns Doug’s Sports in Lethbridge, doesn’t worry about his shop when he goes home for the night anymore after beefing up security by installing roll shutters on his store’s front windows.

“I haven’t been woken up once in two and a half years now, so it takes a lot of worry out of my night time life so I can sleep,” said Clark.

For other business owners in the city looking to have the security system installed, it may be on a long wait due to a backlog in supplies coming from overseas. According to one roll shutter company it can take months to receive the parts they need.

“It used to be three months, now it’s more like eight or nine months before we can get it in,” said Chris Smith, co-owner of Urban Fortress Roll Shutters.

“Sometimes it disappears and nobody knows where it is for a while, so having that kind of volume, dollar value and materials is a lot not to have in stock when you need it.”

Smith is now trading parts with other roll shutter companies in British Columbia and northern Alberta to try and cut down wait times for his customers.

For other business owners in the city looking to have the security system installed, it may be on a long wait due to a backlog in supplies coming from overseas. According to one roll shutter company it can take months to receive the parts they need.

Owner of King of Trade Hunter Heggie has been waiting since January to have the shutters installed after his store was broken into three times in 13 months, costing him roughly $75,000 in damages. 

“Local businesses and downtown businesses have been hit extremely hard in the last couple years,” described Heggie.

“I’d really like to get those roll shutters up and I’d feel a lot more secure, but having said that our streets are safe, just once in a while you get some bad apples.”

MATCHING GRANT

In 2019, the city created a 50 per cent matching grant for businesses that implement exterior security upgrades. Heggie has taken advantage of the grant and so have many other businesses according to the City of Lethbridge’s urban revitalization manager. Andrew Malcolm.

“We have 52 projects that have been completed and we have I believe about nine that we have received an application and have approved it, the project just hasn’t been completed yet,” said Andrew Malcolm.

“All a business needs to do is reach out to myself or someone else within our department, and it’s a simple application form which requires land owner acknowledgment or consent, particularly for those businesses that don’t own their location just to insure the improvements that are being made are approved, and it’s a 50 per cent matching program up to $5,000.

Sarah Amies, the community director with the Lethbridge Downtown BRZ, said roll shutters are a highly effective way to keep thieves out, but she believes there are other ways to reduce the risk of a break-in.

“The livelier and more inviting that our downtown is, the safer it becomes,” said Amies

“Just by virtue of the fact that there’s more foot traffic, there’s more general society wandering around and the social issues that we do see do not become as exacerbated.”

While roll shutters will be going up at the King of Trade in a matter of days, those in the shutter industry say the backlog won’t be cleared up anytime soon.

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