Businesses lose out in #BCStorm

Editorial

Wednesday, January 2 2019

While the power is back on for Gabriola, and a large portion of the south coast of BC, it will take some time to know the true cost of losing power after the storm of Dec 20.

Four to six to ten days without power is hard to deal with anytime of the year. This was a four day outage on the four busiest retail days of the year - that will hurt local retailers, and the people who supply them.

It meant shoppers were less likely to go out to purchase anything.

It meant people were less able to cook ‘the big meal’ - so turkeys and other main courses went unpurchased.

It meant some retailers were unable to either open their doors, or had to run with cash-only sales - which meant a considerable decrease in the amount people were willing to spend at the till.

Add to this the retailers who were running a bit deeper into their credit account to purchase products they thought would sell and bring them a better profit margin going into January.

For those local producers and artisans who sell their wares in local retailers, the outage will mean their products didn’t sell, so the next order of products their retailers purchase could be considerably smaller.

It could mean staff may find themselves out of work if a business is unable to recover from this storm damage.

And as more and more islanders feel the economic crunch of the lost income, they will tighten budgets around other expenditures, service industry will feel that crunch.

Some may say, insurance will cover it - but not all insurance covers all losses. It may cover loss of product, but it may not cover lost revenue, or the wages paid out to staff.

This may not have been a wildfire - but the economic impact to our community, and many others up and down the coast, will be felt for quite some time.

The Province may or may not step in - no word has been received from any officials to suggest any kind of post-emergency funding that could be accessed.

But given the timing of this storm, and the potential financial impact it could have on coastal communities, officials in Victoria should be considering some kind of emergency funding stream for businesses who will need help.

And for the rest of us, it becomes even more critical that we look to buy local.