La Salle residents are now without full postal service in their community with the closure of the postal outlet in the La Salle Co-op Gas Bar as of the end of May.
General manager of the La Salle and Domain Co-op locations Ken McMullan explained his decision to stop offering Canada Post parcel pick-up and mailing service at the La Salle Gas Bar.
"We were getting such bad customer relations from Canada Post," he said.
The postal outlet had operated in the gas bar for about four years.
McMullan explained that his staff had to deal with many people who’d received parcel or registered letter notices in the mail they picked up from their community mailboxes. Even though the notices indicated that their items would be ready for them to pick up, when they checked with the gas bar staff, they discovered their parcels or registered letters hadn’t arrived yet.
"They were blaming us for it," said McMullan. "We didn’t like the bad customer service image."
He said he talked to Canada Post staff about this problem and found that parcels and registered mail bound for La Salle often became tied up for a few extra days at a depot in Charleswood before being trucked out to La Salle.
As well, a load of parcels was sometimes delivered in the late afternoon, a busy time for the gas bar staff. The small fee per parcel Canada Post was paying them wasn’t enough to fully cover additional staff costs, McMullan said.
Now La Salle residents have to go to a Canada Post outlet at 2271 Pembina Hwy. to pick up any mail that requires a signature. Other parcels are left inside designated boxes at the community box location and a key for the box holding the parcel is left in the addressee’s private mailbox.
However, Adam Murphy, co-owner of La Salle Insurance and Travel, said this system is flawed as he’s sometimes been unable to open the box with the key provided by Canada Post.
His company receives a lot of registered mail and he’s not happy about having to spend an hour away from the office to drive into Winnipeg and back to get business mail.
"It’s not the ideal setup," he said.
Canada Post spokesperson Eugene Knapik said the corporation has tried to find another local business willing to host a postal outlet.
"We met with town officials to try to find an alternate location," he said.
McMullan and Murphy confirmed this, and attributed the unwillingness to the low compensation rate paid by Canada Post.
The La Salle Chamber of Commerce is running information on its website advising local residents on how they can contact Canada Post by phone, online and through regular mail to protest the lack of local parcel service.
Knapick said they have received some complaints and have responded to those.
To see this information, visit http://lasalleonline.ca/events-programming/community-events/