ATHABASCA — Grassland may be without a post office permanently after the last postmaster retired, and a suitable replacement could not be found.
At the Jan. 11 Athabasca County council meeting interim CAO Dawn Phillips informed council members she had been in contact with a Canada Post representative who told her there were few options left for mail service in the hamlet after they were unable to find a new postmaster.
“I did call this morning (Jan. 11) to clarify (and) this is no longer an option, they’re past that option,” Phillips said. “Their recommendations (are) Number 2, community mailbox ... in Grassland or Number 3 amalgamation (with Atmore) like what they’re doing now."
Coun. Kelly Chamzuk, who represents the Grassland area on council, questioned how easy it will be for seniors to access the mailboxes and Coun. Tracy Holland and Coun. Ashtin Anderson wanted to know who would be handling maintenance and clearing snow and other debris.
“They’re right along the road and the grader grades beside them but we don't need to actually do anything around them,” said Coun. Natasha Kapitaniuk adding residents in her division of Colinton, take pride in keeping the mailbox area nice.
On the Canada Post website under ‘Support' then ‘Community Mailboxes' there is a link to create a service ticket if there is too much snow around any community mailbox.
Kapitaniuk did say her biggest concern though was making seniors leave their homes to drive to a central community mailbox, but Reeve Brian Hall wanted to know where Canada Post advertised as he spoke to a business owner in Grassland who would have been interested in taking the role on.
“If they've advertised as many times as they claim they advertised, I wonder where it was,” he said. “Because (he) was very interested in exploring that option and not once did he see it.”
“So, they said they posted multiple times for the position Sept. 20 to Oct. 18, Nov. 1 to Nov. 18, and Nov. 26 to Dec. 26,” said Phillips, noting she was not sure where it was advertised.
Ads for the position, now closed, can be found archived on LinkedIn, Workopolis, the Canada Post website, and several other employment search sites including the federal Jobs Canada website, but was not advertised in the Athabasca Advocate.
Hall asked if administration could pass along the two or three businesses who expressed an interest in providing a location for the post office.
“It is Canada Post, it is their business, and obviously we can’t direct them to do anything,” he said.
Phillips added Canada Post said there were a few applicants, but they weren’t considered suitable however administration will ask them to reopen the postmaster position and if they refuse, public works will provide three locations for mailboxes and work with Canada Post to install them.