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‘It would be devastating’ Baigrie on Alterna closure

By Adam Riley Aug 17, 2023 | 10:03 AM

The latest victim in downsizing and labour shortages is the Town of Ignace, more specifically the town’s Alterna Credit Union, which has announced it will be closing its doors in the community on September 15th.

The closure according to the banking institution is as a result of it being unable to hire any qualified staff locally.

Interim Mayor Kimberly Baigrie has told officials with Alterna, that she and council are planting their feet against the closure.

“I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer and we are going to continue to fight…this community is going to continue to fight. If this council has to go in front of all the community members and explain to them ‘We need your help to save this credit union.’ we will do it.”

A petition has already been started to save the financial institution, which when it closes, will force residents to travel to the next closest outlet in Dryden.

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That scenario poses many issues especially in Northwestern Ontario according to Baigrie who notes the distance, road closures, winter driving conditions and other vulnerabilities which are unfortunately part of living in the region.

“With the aging population, and they use the bank lots, we have to continue our fight.”

Baigrie also has concerns regarding possible criminal activity which could occur as a result of forcing employees and organizers with businesses and events, which require the purchase of coin or to do deposits, to travel on the highway with a large amount of cash unguarded.

“We don’t want that, we want to make sure that we keep the bank in our community.”

In recent years many big name banks have begun pulling out of smaller communities and shifting to offering online services as a means of addressing costs and labour shortages, including Marathon, Terrace Bay, Ignace and Atikokan.

Reflecting on when CIBC pulled out of Ignace several years ago, Baigrie calls it a ‘big loss’, adding the township cannot afford to lose another financial institution, especially with large economic activity poised to occur in the immediate area.



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