Braeside, Ont. residents fighting to keep post office

Residents in the community of Braeside, Ont. rallied Tuesday morning, trying to save their local post office.

The post office is set to shut down Oct. 17 after the previous postmaster retired and no one took the job.

“There’s 400 boxes here that are inside and there’s more than 400 that out on the route for rural route delivery from this site,” said Anders Carson, the Ontario vice-president of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association.

“That’s not a small post office.”

The current plan, should the office close, would see mail rerouted to Arnprior until community mailboxes could be installed in Braeside. Even after that, large packages would still need to be picked up in Arnprior.

The Township of McNab/Braeside said they have been trying to work with Canada Post to extend the Oct. 17 deadline.

“We’ve requested Canada Post to attend two council meetings and they have refused,” said the township’s deputy mayor Brian Armsden. “I don’t know the reasons why.”

In canvassing door to door in the weeks prior, Carson says many people in the Braeside community do not own a vehicle, or are older and do not drive, making any trips to Arnprior to pick up mail a logistical nightmare.

“I live way at the other end of town and my husband and I are getting old,” said Enis Poirier, who has lived in Braeside since 1949.

“I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to [get the mail].”

About three dozen people showed up to the protest Tuesday morning in Braeside. Crystal Parkhurst was one of those residents, who says the post office is a lifeline to the community.

“I went to my very first postmaster when I first moved here in 2010 and didn’t know anybody,” Parkhurst tells CTV News. “And I actually went to her to ask her if she knew if there was any babysitters that I could contact when I was getting my first job living here.”

Carson labelled the closure of the post office a shot at rural Canadian communities.

For many in Braeside, the closure of the office makes them worried for what little they have left.

“That’s two jobs gone in the community of Braeside,” said Parkhurst. “And when you look around Braeside we don’t have a whole lot of jobs that are available here to begin with.”

“Well it’s an easy thing to do because they’re spread out more and they don’t have the high concentration of people to mount a massive protest,” said Cheryl Gallant, MP of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, who attended the rally.

“It’s a community hub,” added Armsden.

“People come to gather here and that’s why we want to see it stay.”

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