LONDONDERRY – Almost a year after the post office in Londonderry ceased operations residents are no closer to knowing when or if it will be replaced.
Colchester County Councillor Tom Taggart remains concerned over the fact Londonderry remains without a post office nearly a year after the previous postmistress retired.
“They promised us that they would get an in-house postmaster out there and they haven’t done it,” Colchester County Councillor Tom Taggart said. “I’m very concerned that eventually they are going to say they can’t find proper facilities and they are just going to go with mail boxes and rural delivery.”
A Canada Post spokesperson, however, said that is not the case and that officials have gone “above and beyond” their normal efforts to find an individual and a location to replace the postmistress who retired at the end of last December.
“We’ve gone through extraordinary measures to try and fill the position,” spokeswoman Anick Losier said. “What I do know is that we’ve made more effort than we have for any other position like that because we knew how important it was to the community and the community leaders.”
Under normal circumstances, Canada Post legally can’t close a community post office because of a moratorium in place to prevent such action.
But in rural communities such as Londonderry, Canada Post hires postmasters who must also provide a location to serve as a post office, which has become a problem in this case, Losier said
She said Canada Post officials have made two attempts (one is the norm) to find a suitable candidate but came up short on both occasions.
“We tried staffing twice,” she said, and while the effort produced “a good pool of candidates” the individuals either did not qualify, either because of the lack of a high school diploma, because they withdrew early or did not show up. Or, they did not have a location to provide that would adequately serve as post office facility.
“So it gave us a much more narrow pool (from which to choose),” Losier said. “And when it came down to it, none of them could provide a premise.”
Losier said Canada Post plans to contact local officials such as Taggart to explore further options but so far nothing has been set.
Taggart, however, who strongly believes a post office is important in the community, expressed concern about the process.
“I’m concerned that that’s just a way of closing us down,” he said, about Canada Post’s inability to find a suitable location.
“That they have such high standards that they won’t find somebody with the proper facility out there and then they can say that they can’t provide the service.”