Friday, November 9, 2018

Lost mail services in small town of Emsdale, Ontario

Canada Post has dropped us!

I live in the small town of Emsdale, Ontario (Perry Township). We really don't have much here, not even a traffic light. The main road consists of a variety store, a take out pizza place and the bank/post office combo. There is also a community center, library and museum around the corner. That pretty much sums up my town. Despite the lack of businesses I love living here because it gives me room to breathe. 

I consider the post office in my community my life line. I use it regularly, not only to post letters (yes, people still post letters, or at least I do) but because I do a lot of online shopping. Most of my purchases are delivered through Canada Post and I pick them up at the post office. Other than grocery stores in the surrounding communities there just isn't a lot of stores close enough to shop at.  (In Huntsville there is a Walmart, but doesn't count and the specialty shops there are priced out of my reach and cater more to the tourists) Bottom line, in my opinion, the post office is important to a small community.

It is not unusual in rural areas for businesses to be combined. I use to live in Novar, another small town where there is a grocery store, post office and liquor store combo. Anyway, in Emsdale the bank is the Kawartha Credit Union which also houses the post office, and the post boxes where I get my mail. Funny, until recently I never knew that it was the bank tellers who also doubled as the postal clerks.  

Photo from Google Maps

In the spring we were told that the bank was closing it's branch and consequently the post office would be closing too. So over the summer I would periodically ask the bank tellers when picking up my parcels if they knew what the plan was for our mail delivery. The answer was always the same, "When we know, we will let you know". It really wasn't the bank tellers fault that everyone was being left in the dark.

Fast forward to October. Still, no one seemed to know what plans Canada Post had for the towns people of Emsdale to collect their mail and parcels. Near the end of October we were finally told that there would be mail boxes placed outside at the Emsdale Community Center. Our own Mayor didn't even know that was the plan. Apparently Canada Post is all powerful and does not have to answer to anyone. I guess our community doesn't rate a post office anymore. At least Canada Post doesn't seem to think we matter enough because there is only approx. 2,454 people that live here. Little towns like mine are being pushed to the wayside and forgotten. 

I spoke with the mayor of Emsdale, Norm Hoffstetter, and he said that the town was trying to negotiate with Canada Post. The town offered to take over the Post Office. When Canada Post finally got back to them (8 weeks later) Canada Post offered the town a pathetic $14,000 per year for rent and utilities on the postal space, which included wages for an employee. There is no way that would cover the cost of living here for the employee, let alone the rental space. It was obvious they do not want to give us our post office back.

A couple of days ago we were handed a letter saying that any parcels would now need to be picked up at the Katrine General Store. (Katrine, Ontario is just outside of Burk's Falls).  That is okay if there was some way to know if I actually had a parcel to pick up! It also stated that on November 8th (yesterday) we are to place our mail box key and clear out any remaining mail out of our post boxes.  However, it is unclear about the new boxes as there is still no sign of them at the community center. Let alone how we get a key or maybe we provide our own lock for the non-existent new boxes.

Actual letter  - inconvenience is putting it mildly...

As of today, November 9th, the bank and the post office will close its doors at 2 pm. 
Emsdale will have no mail services and it has nothing to do with the strike. There is still no mail boxes at the community center.

I thought the Canada Post strike was inconvenient, not having a place to get my mail is down right frustrating! 

We seen the post boxes finally going up on November 11th. Still had no idea how it was all going to work and how we would get keys. 

My BF took a drive over today (November 14th) and it was lucky that he seen a woman getting her mail out of the box. Before she left in her car he flagged her down and asked how she got her keys. The woman explained that you had to pick up the keys in Burks Falls. He then asked how she knew to do that. Apparently Canada Post figures that "word of mouth" will suffice. I guess people will just have to wait around those mail boxes until someone comes by to tell them how to get their mail again...

Oh, by the way, if we happen to get a large parcel we still will be picking it up at the Katrine General Store. The woman also told my BF that when she went in she couldn't breathe because they apparently smoke weed in there. She complained to Canada Post and was told to have someone else pick up her packages then. Picking up parcels comes with a new high here...
This came to mind when picking up a parcel....