Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association’s executive director Ineke Boekhorst.

Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association’s executive director Ineke Boekhorst.

Extra education and grant money aims to make Maple Ridge businesses safer

The city and business association partner on program designed to reduce crime

New grant money is being offered to increase safety of businesses in Maple Ridge’s downtown core.

Effective Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association (DMRBIA) partners with the City of Maple Ridge to offer a new program aimed at reducing crime in the core through education and one-time grants of up to $2,000 for companies trying to safeguard their buildings more through environmental design.

The city’s community safety officers (CSOs) will be offering the Lock Out Crime Through Environmental Design program to downtown BIA members, explained association executive director Ineke Boekhorst.

“The focus of this program is to support elements of environmental crime prevention through design considerations; effective use of the built environment, which could lead to a reduction of safety concerns and incidence of crime,” Boekhorst said.

As part of the program, the city’s CSO’s will conduct assessments on approved properties, offering recommendations on how business owners can make safety improvements.

“ The DMRBIA feels strongly that pride of a community shows by keeping streets clean, managing graffiti, untidy landscaping, and other environmental aspects in a timely manner, to provide citizens shopping, living in, or visiting our downtown BIA area with a positive and pleasant experience,” Boekhorst added.

RELATED: Graffiti plagues downtown Maple Ridge

The program seeks to influence behaviour and encourage stewardship, while reducing acts of vandalism and property crime.

This is an extension of council’s community social safety initiative, explained Maple Ridge’s economic development director Wendy Dupley.

“The CSO program has put specially trained staff into the community to work collaboratively with our downtown business owners and residents to address safety and security,” Dupley elaborated.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a need for us to change the footprints of our businesses to ensure that we are following public health orders to protect our staff and customers. The expertise of our CSO team will help local businesses become more resilient. The financial support from the DMRBIA is an investment in the prosperity of our business community,” she said.

READ MORE: Plans already underway to help Maple Ridge businesses survive COVID-19

The DMRBIA has provided application packages to all association property owners and businesses and posted program information online.

The downtown’s safety and security committee will review each application on its merit and may allocate a grant to cover up to half of the actual cost. The money, if approved, is paid after completion and proof of payment, to a maximum of $2000.

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• If there is more to this issue, please let us know about it. Email us at editor@mapleridgenews.com. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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