Pointe St. Charles residents are outraged over the local Canada Post’s plans to relocate its office from a vibrant residential neighbourhood to a remote industrial location tomorrow.
The new location – underneath the Victoria Bridge highway overpass – is not serviced by public transportation and is difficult to access even with a car, according to Karine Triollet, spokesperson for local community organization Action-Guardien.
“For people without their own means of transportation, this is a difficult situation,” Triollet said in French.
Since September, neighbourhood residents have mobilized through Action-Guardien and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers to protest what they see as the beginning of a larger trend of privatization, closures, and deregulation of postal services.
“We have received a lot of support for our campaign from other communities and groups. The post is a public service, and Canada Post has a mandate to keep it that way,” Troillet said.
Canada Post did not inform residents of the scheduled move, leaving them to discover the plans by word-of-mouth last May, according to Triollet.
Christiane Villmet, a Canada Post spokesperson, emphasized that the post office will still service residents in Pointe St. Charles, and is merely relocating since the lease on the current location has expired.
“I understand that people might be attached because it is such a part of the community,” Villmet said in French.
“The new location is still in the neighbourhood, just a little bit further out,” she added.
Villmet also noted the six other postal service locations within a three-kilometre radius.
But Triollet emphasized that those six other locations are franchised outlets that do not offer the same standardized services as an official Canada Post site.
Canada Post has argued that the Pointe St. Charles location has been under-utilized by the area’s 30,000 residents.
However, Triollet said that the office’s current location is essential to the community both for its basic postal services and because it acts as a financial outlet for many of the areas residents who do not have bank accounts. About half its residents still live below the poverty line.
Pointe St. Charles is located in Southwest Montreal between the Lachine Canal and the St. Lawrence River, and is one of Canada’s oldest working class communities.
While its original inhabitants were immigrant laborers from Scotland and Ireland, the neighborhood is now home to one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Canada.
In protest of the move, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Action-Gardien encouraged supporters to sign and mail a letter posted on cupw.ca.