Red Deer city council remains committed to supporting downtown businesses, says Mayor Tara Veer.
“Our community is facing unprecedented challenges, navigating the perfect storm of a global health crisis and an already unfavourable economic climate,” Veer said in a statement Wednesday.
“BMO Bank of Montreal, a significant anchor in downtown Red Deer, has announced their intention to close their downtown and south Red Deer branches. The company will consolidate these local branches to a new branch in Bower Place.
“Following a briefing from Bank of Montreal officials, it is the city’s understanding that this is part of the planned change for the bank, and all other branches remain open in Red Deer.”
It was also recently announced that Red Deer College’s Donald School of Business will move some programming from the downtown campus to the main campus.
RDC will carry on offering continuing education and English-as-a-second-language courses at their downtown location.
“I spoke with the RDC board chair and we discussed the changing model of RDC and the future of RDC in the downtown. RDC reiterated their commitment to the downtown campus and the fact that ESL and continuing education programs will continue to bring students to our downtown,” said Veer.
Downtowns are “the heart of any city,” and play a vital role as a community’s business, administrative and cultural centre, said Veer.
“City council has prioritized work on the strategic goal of ensuring a strong, dynamic local economy and a revitalized downtown and have identified this in our 2019-2022 strategic plan,” she said.
“As an example, earlier this year, the city launched a new economic incentives program for the downtown and adopted other initiatives to strengthen our local economy.”
Veer said council remains “committed to fostering a strong, diverse local economy,” which includes a thriving downtown.
“We will continue to invest in and support businesses in the downtown and throughout our community, ultimately working to ensure long-term sustainability and viability and to support our community through these unprecedented times,” Veer said.