While the Bank of Montreal (BMO) trumpeted its new branch at Eagle Landing Monday morning, that meant the downtown branch is now closed and some customers who forgot or didn't know were in for a shock.
At around 9:30 a.m., Irene Reitz was reading the "We've Moved" sign on the downtown branch doors.
Reitz said knew about the closure but she wasn't impressed. The bank's move coupled with the bus loop's change in location from near the old Safeway to Spadina means the downtown resident, who uses a walker to get around, has quite a journey to get to do her banking.
"I'll have to make it at least once a month," she told the Times. "But if I can use the Interac machines down here, that's OK."
While Reitz was in front of the bank, a young man ran up to the doors, saw the "We've Moved" sign and said: "Stupid, stupid decision."
A spokesperson said customers were made aware of the closure of the downtown branch on Friday, which coincided with the opening of the Eagle Landing Branch Monday morning.
"Chilliwack's growing population and expanding infrastructure are creating many employment and economic opportunities in British Columbia," said Nalla Steigvilas, branch manager, BMO Bank of Montreal in a press release. "To service the needs of this growing community, we are thrilled to be opening the doors to the new Eagle Landing branch."
BMO announced that between Oct. 15 and Dec. 31, customers who deposit $25 into a new Premium Rate Savings Account for their child will receive an additional $25 deposit, and if they invest a minimum $10,000 in a one to five year BMO GIC they will receive an additional $50 deposited into the principal investment.
When the BMO move was made public last year, Mayor Sharon Gaetz expressed her displeasure.
"I'm not happy with that," she told the Times. "It is well-used by the merchants in downtown and some older folks like to walk there. Of course, that's the nature of developmentwe can't control where things go."
Gaetz did say she had asked Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation (CEPCO) president John Jansen to talk to BMO about the possibility of retaining a branch downtown.
Since the District Public House moved into the northwest corner of Five Corners, the closure of the BMO once again brings the number of vacant storefronts at the iconic intersection to three.
Grand opening celebrations for the Eagle Landing Branch are scheduled for Dec. 8.
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