BMO Financial Group Donates Downtown Building to the University of
the Fraser Valley; CEPCO Funds Major Renovations
- $1.5 million donation largest in UFV's history
- BMO's largest one-time donation in B.C.
- UFV Plaza will become Chilliwack's newest business education centre
CHILLIWACK, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/07/12 -- In what
will be the largest donation it has ever received, the University of
the Fraser Valley will take ownership in early 2013 of the former BMO
Bank of Montreal branch building at historic Five Corners in downtown
The university will renovate and refurbish the facility in order to
create UFV Plaza, a downtown education centre with a focus on
programming related to business development and training.
BMO Financial Group will donate the land and building, valued at
approximately $850,000, to the university. The Chilliwack Economic
Partners Corporation (CEPCO) will provide up to $650,000 to renovate
the building, bringing the total value of the project to
approximately $1.5 million.
"We see a real value in having a space right at the core of
Chilliwack's downtown," said UFV president Mark Evered. "This
generous donation by BMO and the additional support provided by CEPCO
will help us to play a lead role in the revitalization of the area
and address the educational needs of the business community."
BMO has been serving customers in Chilliwack for over 106 years. The
branch had been at the Five Corners location over this time, but in
"BMO Bank of Montreal was very pleased to open a new Chilliwack
branch at Eagle Landing in October, 2012 with an investment of $1.7
million," said Henry Donkers, Vice President, Personal Banking, BMO
Bank of Montreal. "Our employees are excited to be offering the full
range of financial services in up-to-date premises, six days a week."
"At BMO we see this donation as a triple win. Not only does the use
of our former branch building assist the university in its goal to
launch a downtown business learning centre, it aligns nicely with
CEPCO's mission to stimulate economic partnerships and activity in
the region. We also foresee the exceptional value of UFV Plaza as a
centre of business learning - for small to medium sized businesses
clients and for the all-important agribusiness sector," said Dean
Kirkham, Vice President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal.
CEPCO, the economic development arm of the City of Chilliwack, is
responsible for promoting and enabling the economic growth of the
community; it sees the value in having a university presence in the
downtown core, according to CEPCO president John Jansen.
"We believe that by investing in the building in its new role as an
education centre for the business community, we will be further
facilitating the rejuvenation of downtown Chilliwack," said Jansen.
"Having the university there as the centerpiece of redevelopment will
send a strong message about the future direction of downtown."
The City of Chilliwack is supportive of this initiative as part of
its commitment to revitalizing the downtown core.
"I truly appreciate BMO's reinvestment in the downtown core
demonstrating mindful corporate citizenship. This will add to UFV's
visibility and influence in the City and continues the positive
momentum for the new downtown direction," said Mayor Sharon Gaetz.
Harv McCullough, UFV's vice president of external relations and a
long-time Chilliwack resident, said that receiving such a major
donation from one of Canada's leading financial institutions, along
with the support of the city of Chilliwack through CEPCO, signifies a
new era in the development of the university.
"This donation from BMO Financial Group, the largest we've ever
received, will serve as a signal to other large corporations that we
have arrived as a major university, worthy of their investment," he
said. "CEPCO's contribution shows that the city recognizes the
important role UFV plays as an economic driver in our community. As a
university, civic and corporate investments like this are what we
require in order to grow and keep up with the expanding Fraser Valley
Once the renovation is complete the UFV Plaza education centre will
include classrooms, a boardroom, and office space for UFV instructors
It will offer a variety of courses, workshops, and programs to
support the business community. Programming will focus on
professional development and continuing studies, and custom courses
may be designed and offered at the request of the community.
"I really see this as an incubation centre to support existing small
businesses and start-ups, so we will be listening to the community to
find out what they need in terms of education and training," said
The new facility will be located in close proximity to the offices of
the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, CEPCO, and the Downtown
Chilliwack Business Improvement Association, allowing for greater
cooperation and synergy between the university and these groups.
Renovation work will begin in the new year, with the UFV Plaza
expected to open in September 2013.
University of the Fraser Valley
Cell: 604-798-3709 or Office: 604-795-2826
BMO Financial Group
Cell: 604-318-0735 or Office: 604-665-7596
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