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Mail route suspended "indefinitely"

Canada Post seeking staff to restore service as soon as possible

ATHABASCA - For the second time in four months, mail delivery to residents on the east side of Athabasca has been suspended. 

An employee of the Athabasca Post Office posted in local Facebook groups March 29 saying there would be mail disruption to Cornwall, East Hill, Wood Heights and the residential area east of Main Street. 

“We can confirm that delivery has been temporarily interrupted to addresses along one route due to unexpected staffing issues,” said Eunice Machuhi with Canada Post media relations. “The unplanned interruption started on Monday, March 29, and customers have been advised to pick up their mail at the Athabasca Post Office. Customers should bring a government-issued photo ID when collecting their mail.” 

In the April 1 e-mail she added staff are being sought to get the route back running, but did not address how residents who do not use social media would be alerted. Signs have since been taped to neighbourhood postal boxes. 

“We are working hard to find a temporary replacement as soon as possible and ensure that regular mail delivery resumes,” Machuhi said. “We thank our customers for their patience and understanding.” 

Chelsea Rogers, who is impacted by the route suspension said it’s time for Canada Post to hire more staff and had concerns about COVID-19 safety. 

“This will definitely add to the spread,” Rogers posted on Facebook. “(Staff) at the counter took my ID with her bare hands and nowhere did she touch hand sanitizer to clean her own hands.” 

Sonya Schaub also expressed frustration, noting people in isolation cannot send a friend or family member to pick up their mail. 

“At least if the boxes were available, I could leave my keys for someone to get my mail for me but now you need ID and have to go into the office,” she said on social media. “Just inconvenient and slightly frustrating.” 

On the old high school hill near Pleasant Valley Lodge, Cecile Fausak said she would be fine if mail delivery was cut for her area to every second day so the suspended route could be done on the alternate day. 

“Has the post office considered that option?” she asked on Facebook. 

Mail service for many of the same residents was on hold throughout December and the holiday season as well.