CHARLIE LAKE, B.C. — Some residents in Charlie Lake have still not received mail after months of staffing issues and promises from Canada Post that the issues will be resolved.
Residents took to Facebook to tell their stories, with multiple residents saying they still hadn’t received mail sent before Christmas, and some have been waiting since November.
A Charlie Lake resident, Mandy Crawford, said these problems have been going on since September.
A specific example Crawford shared was a Christmas letter sent by her mom on December 1st that she didn’t receive until January 3rd.
“I would like this fixed… Still getting told they are short-staffed. This is a federal service and needs to be fixed,” she said.
These issues seem to have stemmed from the change in how mail is delivered in Charlie Lake. As of September 12th, 2022, residents could no longer receive their mail at the Charlie Lake Post Office.
Another Charlie Lake resident, who wished to remain anonymous, explained the most concerning issue is misdelivered mail.
In the Charlie Lake families Facebook group, there are several posts about residents receiving other people’s mail in their boxes.
“I personally have returned three envelopes to the mailbox with other people’s names and their correct addresses,” she explained.
The resident said she was excited to see a large stack of mail in her mailbox, as she had been waiting for a Visa card since December 12th and several Christmas cards.
Her Visa card was there, but it had been cut open and taped shut again.
“Now I am stuck with the choice to use it, risking the fact someone else may have a copy of it, or have a new one sent and wait over a month without a Visa,” the Charlie Lake resident explained.
She shuffled through the stack some more and found another bank envelope with her neighbour’s name and address on it.
“Someone had access to my personal information, and now I have access to someone else’s,” she said.
The resident said she will take the unopened envelope to the Fort St. John Canada Post Office because all the letters being handed off to the correct person without going through the system aren’t helping.
Returning the mail to the post box hasn’t made a difference either.
Residents were told to give their addresses, and a mailbox would be installed on the side of the road close by.
This change spawned the issue with the keys received by the anonymous resident for these boxes.
They received three keys, and the resident said that only two of her three keys worked, but they were “finicky.”
The resident said she went to get more keys cut and was told by multiple businesses that they couldn’t order Canada Post blanks.
“We have five people and a business at our address. We need six working keys so everyone can access mail. Two just isn’t enough,” the resident said.
She said a lady from the post office in Fort St. John told her that she couldn’t get more keys cut and no hardware store or locksmith should be cutting Canada Post keys.
The resident explained to the woman at Canada Post that she and her neighbours had keys cut locally in the past, but the woman insisted that Canada Post keys should not be cut in town.
Canada Post’s website says spare keys can be copied at hardware stores or a locksmith. A Canada Post representative told the Charlie Lake resident that in Edmonton, residents can get keys cut anywhere and that it would be available in Fort St. John too.
The resident said she still cannot get Canada Post keys cut in Fort St. John.
Even before the key issues, she said the mail forwarding system put in place had issues, as she hadn’t received anything.
“The only items in our mailbox were flyers for Dawson Creek stores,” she explained.
The resident contacted Canada Post, explained the situation, and was assured the mail forwarding issues would be smoothed out, and by the next week, she began receiving mail forwarding.
She shared this information with her neighbours, who also began receiving mail forwarding after a complaint was made.
She said when they call Canada Post, the only response they get is that they are understaffed.
“This was not an issue before. Things were changed without consultation, and it is costing residents thousands of dollars to change everything with no compensation,” the Charlie Lake resident explained.
“We are forced out of our local post office and have to go to the next town to get service. We are not getting out mail, and our mail is ending up in other peoples’ hands.”
Now, she said Charlie Lake residents have to go to Shoppers Drugmart to receive parcels if they aren’t sent back before getting the first and second notices in the mail.
“One of our household members is an 86-year-old on oxygen. If you have ever been to Shoppers Drugmart, you know the parking lot is a mess, and you often can not park in it,” the resident explained.
“Often, you have to park across the road and far away. How is an 86-year-old expected to do this, especially for the half a year when snow, ice and freezing weather is fighting against us?”
Last week, Canada Post told Energeticcity.ca staff they are working on the backlog, but we have not received a recent update.
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