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Sport Chek pulls out of Edmonton City Centre as mall highlights 'significant safety issues'

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One of the biggest tenants in Edmonton City Centre (ECC) mall is closing its doors for good.

Sport Chek and Atmosphere will close permanently on March 12.

When reached for comment, the company did not provide a reason for the store closing.

Sean Kirk, ECC general manager, told CTV News Edmonton he’s disappointed by the news, adding the mall's ownership group has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in downtown Edmonton, but is hesitant to invest more because of safety issues.

“The significant safety issues we have had to endure to-date has exacerbated the already difficult pandemic loss of tenancies and workers. We have no confidence to make any new material investments in ECC until we see a concerted and sustained effort to improve existing conditions,” he said in a written statement.

“Simply put, the current state of downtown Edmonton and perceived lack of urgency from different levels of government is hindering hundreds of millions of dollars in future investments from organizations such as ours."

The news comes the same day the province says it has delivered on a promise to spend $5 million on the downtown core.

The City of Edmonton received $4 million and has promised more live events, promotion, graffiti removal, cleaning, and snow removal.

The other million went to the Downtown Business Association, which will be used for beautification, start-up expenses for retail, pop-up retail spaces and marketing.

The province also cited its social issues task force and money for improved access to services addressing addictions and homelessness as proof of its performance in downtown Edmonton.

The NDP says the government’s support is too little, too late.

“Downtown Edmonton continues to struggle with high office vacancy rates, a lack of vibrancy, and concerns about safety,” said MLA David Shepherd in a news release.

“This funding was promised in the budget, but is only being delivered now — almost a year later — and is a fraction of what is required to support the revitalization of the city’s core.” 

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