Creekside Home Decor owner Kimberley Byers outside her Chilliwack Wellington Avenue store on Nov. 10, 2022. The store had been broken into for a third time, and she was standing in front of a temporary mural painted over the smashed window. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Downtown Chilliwack business-protection guidelines try to strike balance between safety, design

Proposed guidelines for downtown businesses will be subject of public hearing March 7

City of Chilliwack officials are trying to strike a balance between protecting downtown businesses and maintaining aesthetically pleasing design.

Updated ‘building protection guidelines’ for downtown businesses are coming up at public hearing March 7, for council to consider amendments to the 2040 Official Community Plan (OCP).

The windows of several downtown storefronts were smashed in break-ins and vandalism hits in the past couple of years, and some merchants are seeking crime-prevention tools to better secure their commercial properties.

RELATED: Spate of smash-and-grab incidents downtown

The proposed OCP amendments on deck at city hall include: allowing awnings and canopies, as well as installing exterior entry and exitway protection guidelines for fixed-in-place gates, grills, and bars, permitting exterior shutters on windows, and encouraging the use of interior window bars.

“These proposed amendments will enable business owners to secure their commercial property, while meeting the design objectives of the OCP,” according to a staff report dated Feb. 21.

Council directed staff to consult with Downtown Chilliwack BIA (DBIA) officials in December on the proposed changes, including the idea of allowing exterior roll-down shutters on windows.

“In response, the DBIA submitted a letter supporting the proposed Development Permit changes, while also stating a preference that merchants pursue shatterproof glass as a first choice.”

So the proposed amendments acknowledge the hesitance committee members had about “out-right” prohibition of window shutters.

“Rather it was suggested that window shutters be permitted in instances where businesses have had their windows broken repeatedly and business owners wish to undertake specific target hardening measures.

“Transparent windows and active street frontages can still be achieved through the installation of shutters over windows as they can be closed overnight, after hours and opened during the day.”

Anyone interested in providing feedback on the proposals before the March 7 public hearing has the following options. They can send written submissions, including name and address, to the city’s corporate services department at 8550 Young Road, Chilliwack, BC V2P 8A4 or by email to no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, March 6. They can also participate by Zoom or by phone with details and instructions on the city website at Finally they can also participate in person by showing up in council chambers at 8550 Young Road.

RELATED: Mattress store suffers smash-and-grab

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