RDEK gets update on rural post offices

Canada Post searching for a new postmaster for Wasa

Canada Post has responded to regional district concerns about two rural post offices.

Last month, the Regional District of East Kootenay board of directors agreed to send a letter to Canada Post, expressing its concern about Wasa and Grasmere post offices.

The postmaster in Wasa retired in May, and the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA) said it was concerned the post office would be closed.

Meanwhile, residents in Grasmere had their mail delivery changed in July from the Grasmere post office to community mailboxes on Highway 3/93.

Area B Director Heath Slee said the location of the community mailbox was a concern.

“It’s not a good situation for their own public safety because they retrieve their mail from the boxes and then they have to pull out on the highway and turn around to go back to their residence,” said Slee last month.

On September 7, the board accepted a letter from Normand Ouellet, Canada Post’s local area manager, explaining the situation in both Wasa and Grasmere.

He said Canada Post has been seeking a new postmaster for Wasa since May without success.

“The initial posting for this position concluded on May 27. Interviews were held on June 27 however none of the candidates met our requirements,” wrote Ouellet.

A second posting for the position closed on September 5.

“I want to assure you we are making every effort to maintain a retail presence in Wasa. As part of the Canadian Postal Service Charter, we will meet with affected customers and communities to jointly explore options and find practical solutions that address customer concerns if Canada Post believes we cannot staff this position on a permanent basis.”

Meanwhile, postal delivery in Grasmere was changed because Canada Post determined that the community mailbox would be more advantageous for residents, according to Ouellet’s letter.

“Community mailbox service offers several advantages over group mailbox service (at the post office), including the ability to receive most parcels at the site and also to post mail.”

He added that Canada Post believes the location of the community mailbox to be safe for both customers and Canada Post employees.