Atlin, KB Postmaster Quits, Says Canada Post ‘Bulked Me Into Corner’

Atlin, KB Postmaster Quits, Says Canada Post ‘Bulked Me Into Corner’

The postmaster of Atlin, BC has a special message for Canada Post this holiday season: he’s calling it quits.

This has left the corporation scrambling to find a replacement before the end of next week to ensure the small community continues to receive mail.

“Basically, Canada Post has pushed me into a corner where I have to resign,” said Atlin postmaster Tina St Cyr.

“Basically, I put it off as long as I could.”

St Cyr said his tenure as postmaster will end Dec. 23. It’s not clear what will happen to mail delivery in the community next.

“I’m so sorry for Canada Post. I’m very disappointed that it has come to this,” he said.

For the past six years, St Cyr has been under contract with Canada Post to act as postmaster for the Atlin general store it owns. But when the shop was there It was destroyed by fire three months agoSt Cyr had to find a new place for the post office.

The building remains after the Atlin, BC post office and general store were destroyed in September. Since then, St Cyr has operated the post office from another leased space. It is struggling to cover costs. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

He managed to find a temporary location in a former funeral home with no plumbing, and the owners refused to rent. Still, he has to pay for insurance and utilities, and his $500-a-month contract with Canada Post can’t cover that.

“In past history, [the post office] it’s usually been outside people’s houses, and then I had it in my shop. So basically you already had the space, and it took very, very little for Canada Post to get in there,” he said.

Costs are higher at the temporary location he now leases, but St Cyr said Canada Post will not change its contract with him.

“There is no negotiation to help pay utility bills at the temporary location,” he said.

“The amount of rent they’re paying me today doesn’t even cover the heating bill for the month. So if I’m trying to make it work, I’m basically paying a lot more than what I’m bringing in out of pocket.”

In an email to CBC News, Canada Post spokeswoman Lisa Liu confirmed the postmaster’s resignation.

“Customers are aware and we have also contacted elected officials,” Liu wrote.

“We are currently working on plans to keep the post office open until a replacement postmaster is found/hired.”

A ‘harmful’ effect on the community

Fewer than 500 people live in the northern B.C. community, but St Cyr said the local post office is busy. He said about 380 or 390 mailboxes are active, and the outlet processes about 500 packages a week.

Atlin is not directly connected by road to any other BC community. The closest communities are in the Yukon, so with no local post office, residents may have to travel out of province for postal services in Tagish, Carcross or Whitehorse.

A small room with packages stacked on a shelf.
The current post office in Atlin has no plumbing and heating oil costs were about $850 a month, according to St Cyr. (Tina St Cyr)

St Cyr said this will be difficult for many of the village’s elders.

“It’s really heartbreaking, and heartbreaking… My absolute sympathy goes out to this community,” he said.

“I know this is going to have a huge impact on the community, and it’s going to be detrimental. I’m out of options.”

According to St Cyr, Canada Post needs to rethink its “antiquated and antiquated” system of contracting postal services in small communities. He suggests that the corporation should establish its facilities in Atlin and hire local people as employees.

“I hope my resignation promises to take a closer look at this situation and find a solution that will work best for the Atlin community,” he said.

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