Turner Valley’s library has become a focal point in a major financial institution’s search for a place to set up an ATM in the community, but Town and library staff say the facility is not ideal.
The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) wants to house an ATM and night deposit box at the Sheep River Library following the closure of its Turner Valley branch in December. The bank was the only one in the town.
Sheep River Library manager Jan Burney said there are many factors why the library wouldn’t be a suitable location for an ATM and night deposit box, its hours being among them.
“We are only open 51 hours a week,” she said. “There are a lot of long weekends where we are not open for the whole weekend. To have it open in the library would be more inconvenient than convenient. Other concerns are around security and inconvenience to staff and the public to have it located inside the building.”
Burney said structural changes would also have to be made to the building.
“Because the library was built library-specific it’s not like we can easily make changes,” she said.
Burney said she would be open to having them in the library if it wasn’t because of these factors.
“It’s not that we haven’t tried to accommodate them, but it can’t interfere with delivery of library service and having it in the building will do that,” she said. “We are not the bad guy here. We are trying to accommodate them and it’s just not going to work.”
Space and safety at the library are concerns for the Town, said Heather Thomson, Turner Valley interim chief administrative officer.
Thomson said the three spots discussed for an ATM and night deposit box in the library are not feasible due to lack of space, impact on library users and interruptions to wheelchair accessibility and an electrical fire panel, she said.
“The night deposit box takes up all the room because they have to have access to it,” she said. “That’s where the difficulty is. We basically told them they can’t attach it to the library, there’s not enough space. It will take away from the usefulness of the library.”
An ATM is currently located at the former branch location on the corner of Main Street and Sunset Blvd., but RBC plans to sell the building.
“It would be really great to meet the needs of our residents, but really that’s the responsibility of the RBC,” said Thomson. “In my opinion they should have been on this before they shut the branch.”
Thomson sees the only feasible option for an ATM and night deposit box at the library being a standalone exterior kiosk near the entrance and the library would provide power and Internet access.
“We as a town really wanted to see that night deposit box and so do the businesses,” she said. “We have no idea what they’re considering. We haven’t heard back from them.”
Almost a year ago, RBC sent letters to its Turner Valley branch clients informing them it would relocate to a second branch in Okotoks in December due to a reduction in foot traffic and 89 per cent of customers banking online, over the phone and via ATM machines.
Lisa Gerlach, RBC senior manager of corporate communications, wrote in an email that the financial institution is still exploring options to find a new location for its ATM and night deposit box.
“There are several factors we consider when identifying a location for an ATM,” Gerlach wrote. “In order to maintain security, we don’t share the factors we consider for ATM locations. Until we identify an appropriate destination and as long as we own the building the ATM currently resides in, the ATM will remain in its current location. In order to maintain security, we can’t get into specific details about locations we would consider for ATMs.”