Residents on the Southside of Burns Lake finally received mail late last week after a postal service disruption that led to them not receiving mail for several days.
“I can confirm that mail delivery has not been suspended to customers living on the south side of Burns Lake. While mail delivery was temporarily interrupted recently to the area because of staffing issues, mail was delivered yesterday,” said Phil Legault, the media relations officer with Canada Post.
Legault also confirmed that Canada Post had interviewed for new delivery agents, and were expecting to have a full-time hire on the route shortly.
The issue of service disruption came to light after residents on the Southside started reaching out to Lakes District News to inform that they weren’t receiving their newspapers, or any other mail.
On June 20, Takysie Lake Resort posted on their Facebook page, “Southsiders: Canada Post has still not hired anyone to fill the position at the Southside Post Office or the mail delivery position for the Southside. I was informed that as of this week, we no longer have anyone to deliver the mail. And…right on cue…there was no mail delivery today. We all need to start making phone calls and/or writing letters. Look for a petition in the upcoming weeks.”
The post further urged residents to contact Taylor Bachrach, NDP MP of Skeena-Bulkley Valley, to bring the issue to his attention.
When asked about the postal delays, Bachrach told Lakes District News, that him and his team had been working to get Canada Post to improve the rural service for the Southside residents ever since the postal service closed its South Bank Post Office.
“The issue in the Southbank affects over 100 residents. The loss of the driver affects many hundreds more. I understand people’s concerns. From the very beginning, my team has been working on this and advocating for them,” said Bachrach. “Our message to Canada Post has been clear in that they need to fix this as quickly as possible. And the fact is that it has taken too long to restore normal mail service.”
The South Bank Post Office has remained closed since the December of last year. According to the postal service, this closure was temporary after the retirement of the then postmaster.
“With respect to the Southbank Post Office, it temporarily closed when the postmaster retired. We continue to try to staff the postmaster’s position,” said Legault.
According to Bachrach, he and his team have now been putting efforts into resolving both these issues.
“We are in conversations with Canada Post and the regional district representatives to try to find a solution. The reality though is that this is Canada Post’s responsibility to ensure adequate mail delivery for rural residents. It is unacceptable that these rural residents have had these interruptions for their mail delivery,” said Bachrach.
He also said that he will be visiting the Southside, to meet with residents in early July, and to discuss this issue in person.
“When it comes to the postmaster and the post office in Southbank, the information I have received is that Canada Post needs to address the issue of inadequate compensation. If the responsibility is going to be taken up by someone, they would need to be fairly compensated,” he said. “Unfortunately, it seems that Canada Post is constrained by its national policies and collective agreements but I would hope that they would see this as a special circumstance.”
Bachrach added that he would continue to advocate for residents of the Southside, and would keep urging Canada Post to find a solution quickly.
“I can certainly understand the frustration of those residents. I grew up in a tiny rural community and I know that mail delivery is a real lifeline for a lot of folks. So, we are going to do everything we can to ensure that this gets fixed,” he concluded.
If customers have questions regarding their postal services, Canada Post is urging them to reach out their customer service team online at canadapost.ca/support or by telephone at 1-866-607-6301 (TTY: 1-800-267-2797).