Used so often it has become a bit of a joke, the phrase “It’s in the mail” is slang for slacking off.
The joke is anything but funny to residents of Parson, who believe Canada Post has done just that by ending a longtime contract for mail delivery to the Twig And Berry Trading Company.
In a follow-up to a July 20 Golden Star story, residents continue to deal with a lack of adequate mail service.
Without warning, on July 7, mail delivery to the convenience store/gas station and restaurant every morning was suddenly shifted to afternoon when it was impossible for busy staff to sort.
In an Aug. 12 online chat with a Canada Post, an agent assured that the organization is actively looking at options to resume mail delivery in Parson as soon as possible.
“To maintain our delivery service standards for all customers in the communities in the Parson and Golden regions we have had to modify our mail delivery times to several post offices,” wrote the agent. “As a result, change of time of receiving mail caused an issue for the postal outlet located in the Twig and Berry Trading Co. general store (CC 103887) and it is now closed.”
In the meantime and acting on numerous complaints from Parson residents, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A Director Karen Cathcart and Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison have attempted to seek a resolution with Canada Post, without success.
Resident Gale Brownlee has forwarded several concerns she has received in emails or in conversation with other residents.
Chief among the comments is the fact that recently installed Canada Post mailboxes have been situated on a double-yellow-line stretch of the highway between Golden and Cranbrook, and are difficult to access.
“I went by our box yesterday and people need to be warned you cannot park near the boxes,” one writer states. “A work truck came driving in and almost slammed into me. It’s a one-lane road that trucks are using. We will need to park way over on the right hand side.”
Another resident had to drive 76 kilometres to Golden and back to get a small parcel that was too big for her personal box but, according to Brownlee, would easily have fit into the larger parcel box.
“The Twig and Berry has been forever, a community gathering spot, and now this is also being taken from us,” reads another email. “We seldom shop other than for fuel, but we always look forward to visiting with our Parson rural friends and neighbours when picking up the mail. It will never be the same without the cozy and welcoming atmosphere that we are used to.”
Other residents are not even getting their mail as one of the banks of mailboxes is out of order forcing residents to drive to Golden if they want their mail.
“This is what was posted on a unit – ‘This module requires repair. Please pick up mail at Golden Post Office,’” says Brownlee, pointing out it would never had happened if residents were still picking up their mail at Twig and Berry Trading Co. “Not even a month into the community mail boxes and one needs repair. Is this a sign of what the future brings?”
Describing her Parson constituents as being angry but civil, Cathcart is critical of Canada Post’s decision to arbitrarily change delivery, without any consultation.
“Parson is one of our larger neighbourhoods where residents live up to 100 km away from Golden,” says an angry Cathcart, noting the new mailboxes are in an area in Parson that is high crime, unsafe and hard to access from the highway. “When I said this is not safe, Canada Post responded that they did a safety audit and it met their objectives.”
While the cessation of mail delivery was sudden, Cathcart believes Canada Post had been planning the move as mailboxes were being installed during the time she was speaking with someone at the organization.
“This Is absolutely ridiculous, especially when you consider carbon issues and gas issues,” says Cathcart, noting that with a lack of shopping options, many residents order online. “And the Canada Post truck goes by every morning. “
In an Aug. 11 letter to Jean-Yves Duclos, MP Morrison reminds the newly appointed minister of Public Services and Procurement that his mandate is to ensure Canada Post provides the high-quality service that Canadians expect at a reasonable price and better reaches Canadians in rural and remote areas.
Morrison points out that Canada Post is failing to honour the commitment to support rural and remote areas.
“I am speaking particularly regarding the Canada Post outlet in Parson, B.C. in my riding,” he writes, noting he has received numerous emails and communications from municipal officials and constituents in Parson, who are very upset and concerned about the decisions made by Canada Post. “Please note that I have communicated with regional officials with Canada Post and, unfortunately, I have not been successful in having this decision reviewed and reversed.”