CORNER BROOK Some unionized employees are critical of the move, but Canada Post says any challenges posed by its new location in Corner Brook will have no negative impact on its workers or the public.
The corporation moved its mail distribution headquarters in the city to the Timco Mall on Maple Valley Road last March.
There were a few grumblings from some residents who preferred Canada Post’s previous, more central location on Main Street. Now, even the folks who work there say the new spot is not suitable.
Heather Noseworthy, president of Local 039 of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said the tractor trailers delivering mail have had trouble turning into the road at the rear of the building to make deliveries when there is a buildup of snow. In addition to the difficulty of navigating that sharp turn off the road onto the Timco Mall property, she said the trucking company also has concerns about having to exit down over the steep hill the general public has to climb up over to access the front entrance to the new post office.
“The transport trucking company has refused under health and safety to offload at our new facility,” Noseworthy said.
“I have been up there on an evening when they had to wait for a sand truck to come before they could leave because they would just slide down that hill.”
According to Noseworthy, the company now plans to offload mail from its transport trucks in Deer Lake and have a smaller truck make twice daily runs back and forth to the Corner Brook depot.
She has been assured by management that there will be no delays in mail delivery service to the general public. There may, however, be an impact on staffing schedules.
“We are still in consultation about shift changes to see how we can accommodate the new trucking schedule for our employees,” said Noseworthy.
Considering most of the snow was gone by the time the new location was operational last March, Noseworthy said the real test will come when the post office experiences a full winter.
John Caines, a spokesperson for Canada Post at its head office in Ottawa, confirmed larger trucks have had problems accessing the new site. He also confirmed the mail will be offloaded from transport trucks at another location before being delivered to the new post office via smaller vehicles.
While one option will be another community, the exact one Caines was unable to identify when interviewed Friday, he said another option is to use the docking facility at the old post office to transfer mail to the smaller trucks.
Either contingency plan will not cause any delays, according to Caines.
“We’re looking at contingencies for when the snow gets here,” he said. “We’re well ahead of this thing and there’s no sense going out and causing concern where there isn’t any. We are aware of the issue and we’re on top of it and there shouldn’t be a problem.”
Noseworthy, meanwhile, is of the opinion that the post office has been poorly relocated. Although residents may not experience any delays in home mail delivery, she said the remoteness of the new location — compared to the former Main Street location — and the steep hill leading up to the main doors are not being welcomed warmly by the people she has spoken with.
“I’m a letter carrier and a lot of people tell me they don’t even know where the new post office is,” said Noseworthy. “It has become frustrating for us. Our joint health and safety committee with the management have done our best to do what we can with the location the corporation has chosen for us.”
Caines said the corporation has not received any complaints from the public about the new location.