Thursday April 17, 2014





Bomb scare took heavy toll, says business community

But downtown stores already on the rebound
MURRAY MITCHELL/ THE DAILY NEWS

Yellow tape restricted access to several areas of the downtown Saturday as police worked to evacuate employees and shoppers from the area.

Downtown business owners will recover from Saturday's bomb scare, although the evacuation and closure cost many of them heavily.

Gay Pooler, general manager of the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association, said the two weekends before Christmas are the busiest shopping days of the year - losing one of them is a big deal.

Businesses forced to close figure they lost anywhere between $1,500 and $15,000 each, Pooler said. The average loss for all the 118 retailers and 60 restaurants and pubs is likely about $3,000 each.

The bomb scare affected all the downtown, she noted - not just those inside the evacuation zone, since people stopped coming downtown once they heard what was going on.

"It's a huge financial hit," she said.

But businesses are already rebounding. Some of the stores had bigger days Sunday and Monday as customers returned to buy what they were not able to get Saturday.

And no one Pooler has talked with has said the police should have reacted differently - closing off the downtown core for several hours was the only real option.

"They had public safety in mind," Pooler said.

Meanwhile, Kamloops RCMP continue the search for those responsible for planting the packages, clearly made out to look like explosive devices.

Staff Sgt. Gary Kerr said despite appearances, there was nothing explosive in the packages. The RCMP's explosive disposal unit was called to Kamloops as part of the response. It determined nothing in the packages was actually dangerous.

He hopes to provide further updates on the investigation's progress later today.

Const. Rose Dunsmore said it's clear someone wanted the packages - a yellow plastic box and a metal case - to be seen.

"We will not go into specificity of the items seized at the scene, however it is apparent the perpetrator wanted someone to discover the items in the hopes of leading the public and the police to believe the packages were incendiary," she said.

Police said criminal charges are possible if those responsible are identified. Anyone with information about the packages is asked to call the RCMP at 250-828-3000.

rkoopmans@kamloopsnews.ca


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