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Holidays put two-week freeze on mail delivery downtown, business owners say

Canada Post says relief worker did his best to deliver mail in unfamiliar area

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jan 18, 2014 06:00 am

APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette

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Several downtown business owners and operators are frustrated after not receiving mail for two weeks over the holiday season.

Business owner J Wagner, who runs Grapevine Deli, said she didn’t receive mail during the holiday season, from Dec. 23 until Jan. 7.

“I think it was the whole downtown area,” Wagner said, noting she’s talked to many other business owners who didn’t receive any mail.

Her regular mail carrier let them know on Dec. 20 he’d be gone for two weeks and someone else would cover the route. Wagner didn’t think much about not getting any mail at first.

“Then January comes along and I’m doing my payables and I don’t have my bills,” she said.

She contacted the companies to send her new copies, and was told by Epcor her bill had been sent around Dec. 23.

“In the meantime I’ve gone to my neighbours and nobody’s gotten any mail,” she said.

She said she was told the relief worker hadn’t come in. Her phone call to Canada Post about the problem garnered an apology but, days later, no follow-up call as promised.

“I’m a small business. Most of the time I let things go,” Wagner said, but noted the cuts and service changes that Canada Post is bringing in. She questioned who the Crown corporation is accountable to.

Her mail was eventually dropped off once her regular carrier was back.

“We got ours on the seventh at 4 p.m.,” Wagner said.

Kim McIntyre, the office administrator for Dr. Kin Wong’s dental office, had a similar story. When she went to tell the regular carrier the dates the office would be closed, she was asked to tell the relief worker on Monday, Dec. 23.

On the Monday she and some others were at the office until “well after four” and no mail carrier appeared, so she posted a note with the closed dates. On Dec. 27 they had no mail, and didn’t receive any before they closed for New Year’s on Dec. 30.

“I didn’t get any mail until the seventh,” she said.

Giselle Sinclair, part-owner of the Candy Bouquet, also didn’t receive any mail.

“I didn’t realize we hadn’t gotten mail,” Sinclair said.

She did notice once it was pointed out she hadn’t received any of her normal utility bills.

Phil Legault, a spokesperson for Canada Post said in an email that there were some issues that affected businesses on Perron Street and the immediate surrounding area.

Legault wrote that a relief worker was working but there was some confusion due to Christmas holiday business closures.

“The relief carrier was not knowledgeable about the Christmas business closures in the area. He did the best he could in delivering to those he thought were opened. This did take him a lot of extra time on the street taking the mail out every day and trying the businesses that were closed,” Legault’s email said.

In a follow-up email he clarified the carrier had attempted to go back to businesses that hadn’t been open when he’d first tried to deliver mail.

“As well, the time preparing the mail and trying the businesses that were closed caused the relief carrier to be out on the street later in the day. This may have caused the relief carrier arriving at businesses that were opened during the day later and they may have already closed for the night,” Legault said.

His email said any business that appeared to be closed Jan. 2 when the relief carrier passed was assumed to be closed until Jan. 6.

Canada Post was closed for mail delivery Dec. 21, 22, 25, 26 and Jan. 1, Legault noted.

“On Dec. 30 and Jan. 2 and 3, we were able to use an employee to help out with the delivery of this route and had it all cleared up by the end of day Friday (Jan. 3),” Legault said.

Legault said Canada Post isn’t aware how many businesses were affected, but said his organization received one call with regards to the issue Dec. 30 and four calls on Jan. 6.

He pointed out that Canada Post does have a hold service that allows businesses to put holds on their mail if they’re closed or working holiday hours.

“A business using this service helps us to clarify which mail is going out,” Legault said.


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