The council in Petty Harbour – Maddox Cove intends to put more pressure on Canada Post to come up with a solution to the lack of a Post Office in the town.
But Mayor Nat Hutchings indicated at Monday’s public council meeting the Crown Corporation has not been very cooperative, even when it comes to answering requests for information.
Councillor Linda Doyle said it’s time the town told Canada Post to find a permanent location. “Because we all know Canada Post is trying to get rid of the Post Office,” she said.
Petty Harbour lost its local Post Office over a year ago, when the businessman who had the contract to provide the service declined to renew it so that he could focus on his other business interests.
The corporation has since tried to find someone willing to rent or build space for a Post Office and operate it 24 hours a week at a reported pay of some $20 an hour, which includes labour and building rental and operations.
“Nobody is coming into town for the money they’re offering for rental and the running of the Post Office,” said Mayor Hutchings. “We have people in town who would have (taken on the service), but the money wasn’t there.”
Since the Post Office closed, Canada Post has been providing mail at a set of temporary Super mailboxes.
Councillor Harry Chafe said the corporation is only looking for excuses to avoid re-opening a Post Office in town. “They had a couple of places in the harbour where they could have went,” he noted. “But they came up with all kinds of excuses. If we don’t push the issue they are going to stay there (with the Super Mailboxes) and we’re not going to have a Post Office. I think we have to push the issue and get them (Super Mailboxes) out of there.”
Chafe added the corporation failed to adequately clear snow and salt the area around the mailboxes this past winter.
Hutchings said the priority is to get some kind of answer from Canada Post about its plans. “Because right now we don’t know,” he admitted, adding he has been leaving messages for a corporation manager for over a year, but has not received a response.
“That can’t be a permanent location,” Doyle said of the Super Mailboxes, referring to the temporary site on Parish property behind the Town Hall.
“We will try to get a meeting,” said Hutchings. “This has gone on long enough.”
Meanwhile, Canada Post isn’t the only government body causing frustration at the Town Hall.
Councillor Corey Lee said repairs need to be done by the provincial Department of Transportation on the road leading to Cove Beach in Maddox Cove. The soil along the shoulder is starting to crumble because of frost, he pointed out, including around the guardrail.
Mayor Hutchings said he has been on council a long time and during much of that period the town has been trying to get the Department of Transportation to fix up that road. The last council, in particular, tried a number of times to get action, even inviting local MHA Keith Hutchings down for a personal inspection.
“And they never done a thing with it,” the mayor added. “Perhaps it’s time to get after Keith Hutchings again and say ‘Listen Keith, we need something done.’”
Mayor Hutchings said five school buses travel over that portion of the road and it is potentially very dangerous. “It’s time to get Keith on the ball now,” he said. “Like you say, this is an election year, and this should have been done long ago. We’re after being promised over the last year and a half that it was going to be done – the main road for sure – and it’s come to a point now where the road is being jeopardized.”