CanadaPost’s proposal to close down its Pointe Claire Village branch made public on June 21 is generating a lot of opposition from the business community, the residents, federal MP Francis Scarpaleggia and the city council.
The crown corporation announced its intent of foreclosure by putting a sign at the entrance of the office inPointe ClaireVillage, near the intersection ofCartier AvenueandLakeshore Road. Wanting to obtain the population’s take on the closure, Canada Post invited stakeholders to share their opinion through its website or by writing a letter.
According to Canada Posts spokesperson Genevieve Latour, the decision is primarily economic. "Citizens in the area have used thePointe ClaireVillagepost office less and less for the past five years and the income of the branch has greatly diminished," she told The Chronicle. "But for now the closure is still not confirmed. Citizens have until July 19 to send us their comments and then we can make an informed decision, "she added.
The flyer informing residents of the upcoming closure also states that seven service points exist within five kilometres of the current post office, in case of closure.
The merchants mobilize
As soon as they heard the news, the Pointe Claire Village Association mobilized to fight this decision. The merchants circulated a petition asking the citizens to oppose the closure and have accumulated 950 signatures. They have also created a template letter that they are distributing in the village for citizens to sign and send to Canada Post.
The merchants’ association held a meeting on June 28 atVivaVidaArtGalleryin the village and discussed what the post office meant to the village and ways to fight the closure. Opening the discussion, Scarpaleggia made a passionate case for the branch;s remaining open.
“This is not a post office like any other. It has a heritage and cultural value because it is part of a great little village that people not only from all over the West Island come to, but from off-island as well. They just come to experience village life as if this were many years ago. Because of this, I don’t think the post office should close,” he said.
Scarpaleggia wrote a letter to the Minister responsible for Canada Post Corporation Denis Lebel and joined a copy of the petition he obtained from the merchants’ association. The letter was sent last Thursday.
Anne-Marie Angers-Trottier from the Co-op des Bons Voisins created the petition. She says that the merchants and residents want to keep the village as functional as possible for the people who live in it, especially elders.
“We have been working hard to rebuild the grocery store, we are not about to lose another institution. To have a real village, you need the necessary services. For older people who represent a large proportion of the population, walking two kilometres or taking a thirty-minute bus ride is too much. These people need the post office and not just a counter where there are basic services. They need a real post office where they know the person who works there and one that offers an extended range of services,” she said.
The city’s response
Council waited until last Monday to make an official statement on the issue. In a resolution adopted unanimously, the council has decided to oppose the closing of the village branch and is demanding Canada Post to hold a ‘Pointe Claire style’ public consultation, such as the one held by Rogers last September over the Beck Park cell tower, with citizens, any interested persons and organizations.