Merville Store owner Chris Ellis says Canada Post owes him nearly $30,000 in unpaid rent. Photo by Erin Haluschak

Canada Post owes Vancouver Island store owner nearly $30,000 in rent

Chris Ellis says Canada Post owes him nearly $30,000 in unpaid rent dating back a few years.

Chris Ellis is waiting for his very important cheque in the mail.

Ellis is the owner of the Merville General Store on Vancouver Island, and says Canada Post owes him nearly $30,000 in unpaid rent.

“When you’ve got a contract and someone doesn’t oblige, that’s not right.”

The Canada Post operation has been within the store north of the Comox Valley for years – prior to Ellis purchasing the store – and has one unionized staff member employed by the Crown corporation.

He says the grandfathered lease expired in 2013, and he has been asking the corporation to sign a new lease since before the expiration date.

“They claimed they had a copy of the lease valid until 2021, but they’ve never been able to provide it. They finally confirmed to me it was just an internal email. I was bugging them for a long time to get things down on paper.”

Ellis wanted to keep the rent at $210/month, but in Aug. 2017, he sent Canada Post a letter asking for $9,000 he was owed and served them 30 days with a rent increase to $1,500.

He admits it was a huge jump but he was hoping the corporation would pay the funds owed. The notice stipulated Canada Post had to pay the rent increase, or if they chose not to, could no longer occupy the property.

Initially, neither option came to fruition, but a few months later, Ellis received a cheque for just under $7,000. By that time, he was charging the new rent increase, interest and a penalty. He adds there was no paperwork in place outside of the notice of rent increase.

A few days ago, Ellis received a call from Canada Post to alert him a new cheque was in the mail. He is uncertain of the amount.

He has since met with his lawyers to see what his options are to proceed with legal action.

“I’m not being greedy, I just want what’s owed to me. I’ve got a family to feed, I’ve got staff. It has dramatically affected my business. Financial institutions aren’t as friendly with credit; it’s cost my business several hundred thousand dollars in sales because my finances are tied up – I don’t have the inventory I normally would.”

While he wants the funds, Ellis says he does not want to see the post office leave. For residents in the Merville area, the closest parcel pickup without the location would be either Courtenay or Black Creek.

“I don’t think it is in Canada Post’s best interest to vacate the property – it would be more bad publicity than not paying rent.”

When contacted by Black Press for an interview, Canada Post offered the following emailed statement: “We are working to resolve the situation. We have no other comment at this time.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jill Carley new vice-principal at Mt. Baker Secondary

Following the announcement of a new principal for Cranbrook’s high school, a… Continue reading

Cranbrook city council approves agreement with RecycleBC for curbside collection

Cranbrook city council has taken another step towards curbside recycling collection, unanimously… Continue reading

Kelowna glider pilot crashes in the Columbia Valley

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the circumstances of the crash

Cranbrook Pride society organizes different kind of event this year due to COVID-19

The Cranbrook Pride Society had to be creative in planning this year’s… Continue reading

MP Morrison pushes for accountability following federal fiscal update

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian says it is time to restart the economy

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Commercial huckleberry harvesting restricted in Kootenays

The province of B.C. has banned commercial-scale picking from July 15 to October 15

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Most Read