The Bank of Montreal (BMO) will be relocating from Port Alberni’s Uptown area to the Alberni Mall on Johnston Road.
A development permit application has been submitted, proposing a new, one-storey building at 3550 Johnston Rd., which is located within the Alberni Mall parking lot. The building will be located next to Boston Pizza restaurant with the rear of the building bordering Johnston Road.
A restrictive “No Build Area” covenant, in favour of Canadian Tire, could affect a portion of the property, but city planner Katelyn McDougall said BMO has been in conversation with Canadian Tire about amending the covenant prior to a building permit approval.
McDougall confirmed during a council meeting on Monday, May 11 that BMO is not adding a second location, but looking to relocate from the Uptown area to Alberni Mall. At this time, there are no plans for the old building on the corner of Third Avenue and Argyle Street.
Unlike BMO’s current location on Third Avenue, the new building will include a drive-thru.
“That will probably be a big enhancement for what that specific financial institution is looking to provide,” said McDougall.
“I’m very glad to see that there’s ongoing investment within our community,” said Councillor Helen Poon on Monday, although she added that it was “kind of sad” to see the business leaving the Uptown area.
BMO is currently one of three financial institutions located along upper Third Avenue, along with TD Canada Trust and the Royal Bank of Canada. The Coastal Community Credit Union is on Fourth Avenue and Angus Street.
Councillor Ron Paulson agreed, “It is a blow to the Third Avenue area.”
Mayor Sharie Minions expressed support for the development, noting that the new building will better suit the needs of BMO, with more space and a drive-thru.
“We recognize that it is a key location in the Uptown area, but it probably doesn’t suit some of their long-term needs,” she said.