Wawota hoping to save bank branch

November 21, 2016 8:12 am
Kevin Weedmark

The business community in Wawota is hoping to convince RBC to reverse a decision to close Wawota’s RBC branch in 2017.
RBC has announced plans to cease operations at the Wawota branch on May 11, 2017.

A group of concerned Wawota residents met last week to discuss the proposed closure and plan to meet with RBC representatives on Dec. 7.

“We have had one group meeting Nov. 14,” said Wawota business owner Dee Brickley. “The business owners and the town council came up with an action plan of what we want to do to start voicing our opinions on the closure.

“We’ve come up with three different things we want to start with. We’ve started a written petition which is going to be circulated at all of our local businesses, we have come up with a form letter that will be inserted in our community newsletter. It’s a general letter that all citizens can sign, and then it’s going to be emailed and mailed to the RBC CEOs. We’ve also started an online petition for people to sign, so what happens is when people click on that link, they sign it and their signature or their message gets sent directly to three of the RBC CEOs. The mayor is in the process of talking to one of the RBC reps and trying to get us more information on the reasons why this closure is happening—trying to get some numbers, and what they look at.”

Brickley said the RBC branch is important to the community.

“The bank has been here for 100 years, so they do have a strong clientele. We have four employees who are now losing their jobs, one who has a family.

“The traffic flow alone that comes through town for people that do banking there is huge for us as business owners.

“People who come to do their banking in town will shop, they’ll come see me (Brickley owns Detayls Salon), they’ll do a loop of the town and get all of their stuff. Once you cut that tie off, and people start moving toward a different community, then that branch and that community is going to get all of our clients and all of our business. It will directly affect our businesses, our town events, our community facilities, like our rink for instance. If we don’t have the people coming into town to use that, it’s going to limit what we can offer here in town.”

Brickley said the closure announcement came as a shock to the community. “Nobody was ready for it,” she said. “They walked in and told their staff, and me working side by side with their staff I could see that something had happened and I could see the staff was upset, and that’s how I found out, by talking to their staff. They sent out a letter two weeks later to the RBC clients stating that they were closing the bank and that everyone can start going to Moosomin to do their banking.”

Brickley said she is optimistic the people of Wawota can convince RBC officials to reconsider their decision.

“This community is a strong community and they fight for what they believe in,” she said. “They’ve had success in different closures. They had a fight over the bed closures at the nursing home. They put tons of hours in and they actually saved their beds. They got to keep a few of their beds.

“I strongly believe anything is possible if we all get together. If we stay strong, you never know what we can accomplish.”

A meeting has been set up with two RBC representatives Dec. 7. Representatives of town council, RMs, surrounding towns, and the Wawota Business Enhancement Group will attend the meeting.