Bank Street BIA helping area businesses recoup financial losses resulting from convoy protest

By Dani-Elle Dubé

It’s been a long three weeks for businesses in downtown neighbourhoods as the truck convoy demonstration firmly held its grip on the core, forcing some businesses to close to avoid violent run-ins.

This move has resulted in financial losses, not only for the businesses owners but for the people who work (or worked) for those businesses in the impacted areas as well. 

So Christine Leadman, executive director of the Bank Street BIA, is getting to work on helping those businesses recoup their losses — but it’s no easy feat. 

As Leadman told CityNews Ottawa on Monday, February 21, the BIAs have officially received word from the federal government that financial supports would be coming their way. 

“We are being asked to look at the information of our members to see how much businesses have lost over the course of the occupation and we’re sort of starting that process,” Leadman said. “There are different stakeholders involved to which the money will flow, like Invest Ottawa, the Ottawa Board of Trade and the Ottawa Coalition of BIAs, to support those areas that were highly impacted.”

And those areas include Centretown, the ByWard Market, Bank Street, Sparks Street, Rideau Street and Vanier.

But uncertainty remains on whether or not protesters will come back, Leadman said, and it’s putting strain on those businesses that are already struggling from the COVID-19 lockdowns that have been on and off for the last two years. 

Leadman said she has also been made aware of a video circulating online showing businesses owners of an eatery on Slater Street who had provided a haven for truckers.

While the executive directors said they ultimately can’t tell business owners what to do, she believes the decision of those owners will come with consequences.

“Ultimately that will come back,” she said. “People will be aware of it. And if someone doesn’t have safe practices within their business it will ultimately be affected by that as well because people will choose not to go into the business who do care about their health and who care about their families…They’ll live with their consequences.”

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