Postal protest in Richmond Hill tomorrow

May 23, 2012 - All News

Canada Post employees, residents and business owners are expected at a protest outside Richmond Hill’s Arnold Crescent post office tomorrow.
The protest is being organized by postal worker union members after learning the facility may be on Canada Post’s chopping block.
They will protest against the potential closure of the post office’s retail counter, which could take place as soon next month.
Should the counter close, sorting will continue and no jobs would be lost — only the retail counter position. Employees who now work the retail counter would be assigned to new positions.
Cathy Beth of the local postal workers union is organizing the rally and while she said such a closure will impact union members, she fears the largest impact will be felt by local businesses and senior citizens, due to the counter’s proximity to the McConaghy Seniors Centre.
If the counter does close, the closest postal counters are on Harding Boulevard West and the Yonge Street Shoppers Drug Mart just south of Elgin Mills Road.
“A lot of village core businesses are upset because the Arnold location is right there. Not only will it mean travelling farther, it will impact their letterheads, as many of them have post office boxes there,” Ms Beth said.
Lesley Freedman is vice-president of the local business improvement area and said losing the retail counter would be detrimental to many local shops, including her Richmond Jewels store.
Ms Freedman plans to speak at tomorrow’s protest, detailing the retail counter’s importance to the community.
She uses the location to send and receive packages and buy stamps at least twice a week. The retail counter also serves as a meeting place for many local residents and business owners, she added.
“It’s an integral part of the village core, especially when we, as a BIA, are trying to promote the butcher, baker, candlestick maker kind of environment. The post office counter is a big piece of that and losing that venue would be a big step backward.”
The post office and its retail counter have been part of the local community since 1950 and Councillor Lynn Foster agrees closure will severely hurt the continued revitalization of the area.
“My sense is someone in Ottawa has made this decision based on an attempt to save some money and without looking at the potential local impact,” Ms Foster said.
“I hope the protest goes well and we need to let Canada Post know this closure would be inappropriate, but I don’t see it changing their minds,” added Ms Foster, who won’t be able to attend the protest as she is out of the country.
The potential counter closure isn’t about Canada Post saving money, media relations officer Keisha McIntosh-Siung said.
Canada Post is a business and, like any business, it regularly reviews the network of surrounding offices, population and businesses so it can better respond to customers needs, Ms McIntosh-Siung said.
Such a review was undertaken by Canada Post and shows customers will be well-served by other retail counters in town, should the Arnold counter close, she added.
According to Canada Post, there are 10 post offices within five kilometres of the Arnold location.
A similar review was carried our for the Wellington Street post office in Aurora, where the retail counter also faces closure.
— Metroland News Service