It was a tough few days for a Vancouver Island business after a vehicle lost control and ran into the corner of its building.
The driver smashed into Comox Valley Kayaks and Canoes at 2020 Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11. In the process, the side of the building was crushed and 15 kayaks were destroyed. RCMP said the accident was related to a medical emergency.
The business was faced with some uncertainty around when they could re-open, at one point thinking they would need to operate out of a shed. One of the operators, Kerry Webb told Black Press they have since been cleared to open the doors, with the damaged part of the building walled off.
“They say the building’s safe,” she said. “We’re in the space.”
To start off, they are holding off on anything other than long-term rentals to which they had committed. After that, the plan is to re-open for normal short-term rentals starting the week of Aug. 19. The timing was particularly tough for the business, as July and August are the busiest times of the year, says Webb.
Initially, some reports suggested they would be closed over the long term, but she emphasizes they needed to open as soon as possible.
“We want to get operational,” she said.
In addition to the 15 kayaks totaled, several others were damaged. These are seaworthy but cannot be sold as new, so the business is selling them at a discounted rate. They are also looking to find some paddles to use for their rentals.
“All of our rental gear is in a pile of rubble,” she said.
The business also had a sale planned for Aug. 15, but they have moved it to Aug. 20.
Comox Valley Kayaks and Canoes opened in 1991, according to its website, and has been under the same local ownership since that time. The site has experienced six or seven accidents over the years, Webb says, even after the City changed the bend in the portion of Cliffe Avenue in front of the store.
“I think people don’t believe there’s a corner there,” Webb said.
The accident on Aug. 11 was the third of three vehicle incidents in just under an hour for the Courtenay Fire Department. The first was a hit-and-run for which RCMP have now identified all parties.