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Avola residents unhappy local parcel delivery being removed

Canada Post decision means an 87-kilometre round trip to Vavenby to collect parcels
Notice to residents in Avola from Canada Post regarding changes to service. (Photo by: Facebook)

Avola residents are not happy about a notice they received on April 10, informing them that as of May 13 they will have to make an 87-kilometre round trip to pick up Canada Post parcels from the Vavenby post office, rather than at their own post office.

After reciving the notice, local resident Kevin Deckert commented on social media “Avola, the little town that survived. A railway town, a logging town, a mill town, early pioneers buried in the cemetery. It’s quiet now, mostly seniors living out their days and enjoying the simple life. With a change like this to parcel delivery by Canada Post our lives will be more difficult. If this goes through we will have to drive to Vavenby to pick up parcels. In winter, many residents stock up to avoid the roads and something like this adds to the challenge.”

Lee Onslow is the Thompson-Nicola Regional District director for Area “B”, which includes Avola. She heard about the delivery service change as others did recently — on social media — and immediately contacted Canada Post. She also reached out to Frank Caputo, the MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.

The notice of change is part of Canada Post’s route restructuring initiative, says Onslow. The change in parcel pick-up location would impact residents, many of whom rely on the parcel delivery service for essentials such as medications and groceries.

Onslow sent an email to Benjamin Berman, Manager of Government and Community Affairs for Canada Post, in which she explained the impacts of this change for Avola residents.

“I explained to Mr. Berman, when my constituents in Avola receive this notice on May 13 in their mailboxes telling them they will have to drive to Vavenby to pick up parcels, this would be not only inconvenient, but will be physically and financially taxing.

“The community of Avola is 43.5 kilometers from the Vavenby post office, and the round trip is an approximate one hour drive barring any adverse weather conditions or yet another horrific vehicle incident on this long stretch of remote highway.”

Onslow also feels that there is a “very real environmental impact to this decision,” adding that since the province of B.C. and the country of Canada “strive for sustainability and reduced carbon emissions, individual travel for this essential service seems counterproductive to government messaging,” which she stated in her message to the Canada Post representative.

In her email to Berman, Onlsow urged Canada Post to reconsider this sudden decision and to “work with the community of Avola” to find another solution to this route restructuring, which will create “negative impacts to community residents.”

Berman replied to Onslow by phone on May 3. “Mr. Berman conveyed to me that it is not Canada Post’s intention to remove services from rural Canada and they understand how important it is to maintain good service,” says Onslow.

“He assured me they are now taking a closer look at this situation in Avola to come up with a workable solution for the community, whether that is to continue with what they have been receiving or possibly a business in town that could potentially be a drop-off and pick-up location, or perhaps even install a parcel locker.”

Onslow adds that she will be speaking again with Canada Post through Berman in the next week. She is hoping that the concerns raised will be addressed further as she continues to advocate for what she and residents feel is an “essential service” for the small rural community.