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Grand Manan mayor leaves ‘positive’ meeting with Ottawa as bank closure looms

Click to play video: 'Grand Manan, N.B. mayor meets with feds over losing last bank' Grand Manan, N.B. mayor meets with feds over losing last bank
WATCH: The mayor of the remote New Brunswick community on Grand Manan Island, which is set to lose its last remaining bank, says a meeting with federal finance ministers went well. Travis Fortnum explains. – Jun 16, 2022

The mayor of the remote New Brunswick community on Grand Manan Island which is set to lose its last remaining bank for miles, says a meeting with federal finance officials went well.

However, the delegation left without any tangible solutions.

Mayor Bonnie Morse left the nation’s capital Thursday morning after a meeting with New Brunswick Southwest Member of Parliament John Williamson and representatives from Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s Office.

“I thought it was a positive meeting,” Morse told Global News from Ottawa, while waiting for her flight home.

“They took a lot of notes, listened to what we had to say and were very engaged with the conversation.”

Read more: Grand Manan mayor heads to Ottawa in last-ditch effort to save island’s only bank

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Scotiabank has announced it will close its Grand Manan branch on Aug. 24, leaving island residents with an hours-long trip and a $50 ferry ride to New Brunswick’s mainland to do any in-person banking.

A spokesperson for Scotiabank told Global News on June 10 that the institution’s plans have not changed.

Morse said there were seven people in the Ottawa meeting, including three from Freeland’s office, MP Williamson and a staff member from his office, Grand Manan councillor Gregg Russell and herself.

Admitting there isn’t much the federal government can do in terms of intervening in Scotiabank’s pullout, Morse is adamant the meeting was encouraging.

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Next, Morse said it’s time to regroup and continue working on mitigation.

“I think, with two months to go now, we have to really start zeroing in on if there is something we can do to help that transition,” she said.

Read more: ‘Save our bank’: Residents protest closure of only bank on N.B. island

 

“I think we’re still going to continue to push for Scotiabank to reconsider or to see if there is some sort of alternative that we can come up with that will bridge some of the gaps that we need to have bridged,” Morse said.

As she boarded her flight back to New Brunswick, Morse faced an hour and a half drive to the ferry terminal before another hour and a half spent on the ferry to get back to Grand Manan.

“It’s the whole banking problem in a nutshell when you travel,” she said.

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