MINDEMOYA—Central Manitoulin’s office and administration committee met August 28 in council chambers, and once more, talk of the closure of the Northern Credit Union branch was on the agenda.
Islanders were caught off guard upon learning of this event. Years earlier, to the dismay of people on Manitoulin’s West End, the Gore Bay branch closed. It was expected that the Mindemoya branch would be open for business for a long time. Northern Credit Union account holders were also particularly upset with the way the announcement was made, with even the credit union delegates not being aware that the closure was about to happen.
Mayor Richard Stephens informed the committee that he had received a letter about the consolidation, an analysis of what is happening. He also spoke of the financial reports that he had received for 2012, 2013, and 2014, but that he had not received the report for 2015 when the merger of the Espanola and District Credit Union and Northern took place.
Assets for 2012 showed $1.9 million, with a net profit of $105,000. 2013 showed $2.24 million with a net profit of $113,000, and there was a net profit of $211,000 after an intake of $2.48 million in 2014. “We still need the 2015 report to show viability,” Mayor Stephens noted. He also observed that Northern had recently paid $9 million for an acquisition in Saugeen. “So some more unanswered questions,” he added.
“I was told they were not making money,” Councillor Derek Stephens said, while Councillor Alex Baran added, “These are consolidated figures. Perhaps Mindemoya did not make enough.”
Committee chairperson Councillor Pat MacDonald questioned the role of the delegates. Mayor Stephens replied, “the delegates elected the directors. I talked to a number of them, and none of them knew (of the decision).”
The next agenda item discussed was the acceptance of the letter from the Township of Gordon/Barrie Island regarding the Island’s iconic swing bridge.
Councillor Stephens began the discussion, saying, “I am in agreement with them. The structure is not okay. We need something new. An aesthetically pleasing replacement.”
Councillor Dale Scott also spoke in favour of a new bridge. “We need dependable transportation, but it is an icon for Manitoulin. It is part of the charm of the Island. I hope they will at least preserve part of it. Not just demolish and take it away.”
Chairperson MacDonald commented, saying, “I agree with Dale about leaving it as an icon, but I think it is unsafe. That is why they are replacing it.”
“One of the plans is to restructure it,” Councillor Scott added. “I am sure it would change the look of the bridge.”