By Kevin Werner
The City of Hamilton is expected to return to sender TD Canada Trust’s offer to donate its Stoney Creek branch building after it closes Oct. 26.
The bank’s vice-president, Rob McInnis, told a raucous crowd at the Stoney Creek Legion recently that it was in discussions with the city to donate the 11,000-square-foot-property, located on King Street, to the community. The bank has operated in the downtown for about 70 years.
Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark confirmed he had spoken to TD officials. But he remained unimpressed with the offer. He has spoken to McInnis once and he has not had a follow-up conversation.
Clark said the municipality would incur further costs if it assumed the property to conduct an environmental assessment and a feasibility study to determine what to do with the building.
“The cost of doing the studies will offset the donation,” he said.
Another obstacle is that TD Canada Trust officials will be keeping ATMs in the facility, which would make it difficult for the city to properly use the building.
“There is an awful lot of work to go through,” he said.
The bank announced earlier this summer it would close its downtown Stoney Creek branch, calling it a “business decision,” even though officials say it was still profitable.
Stoney Creek residents have expressed anger at the bank’s decision, calling it a betrayal of their customer loyalty. During the public meeting, residents accused them of thinking of the bottom line rather than the community. Bank officials offered to assist customers to relocate their banking to other branches, such as at Green and Highway 8 or near Eastgate Square or to conduct their transactions over the phone or on the internet. Residents, dismissed the officials’ suggestions.
At the meeting, Clark said bank officials “just came in and flipped the bird” to the community.