The Canadian Consulate's Visa and Immigration section in Buffalo is now closed. Visa services have been transferred to other offices across the country ahead of the consulate's closing at the end of August.
Members of the Western New York Congressional delegation sent a letter to Prime Minister Steven Harper last week urging him to reconsider the cost-cutting move. Rep. Kathy Hochul says given all the commerce that crosses the region's international bridges, the consulate is important.
"Symbolically, to have that leave our area, that hurts and we're trying to get them to change that. I understand that they've got to cut costs in their government. Certainly they do. But hopefully they'll take a second look [and] they'll re-visit how good that office is for encouraging the commerce and trade that keeps both of our countries thriving," Hochul said.
Hochul points out Canada is America's largest trading partner and an estimated $470 billion in goods crosses the Niagara River.
The closing affects about 75 employees and comes despite $12 million in recent renovations and a lease renewal for two floors in the HSBC Tower.