For 13 years, Sheri Hayes, her sister, and both of their husbands have processed the mail in Parson at their store, Twig & Berry Trading Co.
From Monday to Friday, the mail would arrive in the morning and the four co-owners of the store, which is known familiarly as the Parson General Store, would sort through it and have it ready for pick up by area residents.
But on Friday, July 7, their established routine shifted and the mail arrived in the afternoon. According to Hayes, this shift took place without any prior notice or correspondence with the store.
Though she is uncertain why the change took place, Hayes said she believes it “has something to do with Invermere getting their mail sooner.”
In an email response to the Golden Star, Canada Post said changes were made “to several post offices” in order to “maintain our delivery service standards for all customers in the communities in the Parson and Golden regions.”
Once the service shift took place, Hayes said her store would no longer be able to accept the mail.
Canada Post acknowledged the issue at the General Store and told the Star that they are “actively looking at options to resume mail delivery in Parson as soon as possible.”
Currently, all deliveries to Parson are being sent to the Golden Post Office at 502 9th Avenue North where residents of Parson must provide a valid government-issued photo identification to retrieve their mail.
Golden is more than 30 km away, and with no public transportation service to get to the town, it is virtually impossible for anyone in Parson without consistent access to a car to receive their mail regularly.
As a four-person operation, the Parson General Store is leanly staffed and receiving the mail in the afternoon is incompatible with the demands of their business.
“We’re a convenience store, a gas station, a liquor store and a restaurant,” Hayes said. “It’s just too busy in the afternoon.”
In addition to manpower, Hayes cited a lack of space as another reason the store could not process the mail in the afternoon.
“We’re not a huge place,” she said. “If the mail was dropped off, it would just have to sit on the floor in the afternoon because there’s not a lot of room to store it elsewhere.”
What is most frustrating for Hayes and her co-owners is that they see the mail van drive by their store every morning on its route.
“It only takes about five minutes to come in and drop the mail off,” she said.
Although the sight of the driver going by in the morning is frustrating, Hayes understands that “it’s not the driver’s fault.”
Hayes also acknowledged that the shift in service has created trouble for people outside of Parson as well.
“Obviously, we feel terrible that it has come to this,” she said. “And the burden it has placed on Golden is not fair either.”
Looking ahead, a solution being considered by Canada Post is the implementation of community mailboxes to serve Parson’s mail delivery needs.
Residents with questions or concerns about their postal services can contact Canada Posts’s customer service team online or by phone at 1-866-607-6301.