May 16th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 20
New post office hours provoke vandalism
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Image parody
New Blairmore Post Office closure hours.
Pass Herald Reporter
Improper activity and vandalism have been occurring at several Canada Post offices in Crowsnest Pass, first due to a lack of a security system and, now, because of it.

At the beginning of April 2018, the Blairmore and Coleman post offices installed an automatic door system that locks entry to the building between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The move was in response to several inappropriate activities that have occurred in the post offices overnight.

According to Giulia Cartwright, senior assistant at the office in Blairmore, there have been people spending the night in the foyer of both post offices, making staff and clients feel uncomfortable. Vandalism activities have also occurred, such as smoking inside the post office foyer, disposing of cigarette butts on the floor or in a garbage can filled with paper, broken lighting, and tampering with client post office boxes.

These types of activities have been occurring on and off over the past several years.

"I've lived here my whole life and I never thought this day would come when we had to lock everything up. It's a small town. Everybody knows everybody. But we had to do something because now, it's the security of the customers' mail," she says.

Several residents expressed their frustration at the limited hours to post office staff and on social media.
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Since the automatic door system has been installed, epoxy glue was injected three separate times into the door locks in Blairmore, causing them to have to be replaced each time. Garbage and debris has also been inserted into the outgoing mail slot on the outside of the building.
The suspects are residents who are frustrated at the new operating hours of the post office.

"You're mad that the doors are locked, so now you're going to take it out on people's mail that's in there? You're taking it out on the wrong people," says Cartwright. "That's people's mail in there. This is our community."

As a result of the vandalism, the building owners of the Blairmore post office installed two surveillance cameras on May 1, one on the outside of the building and one in the foyer.

The security of the mailboxes is of primary importance, says Cartwright, and since that was at risk, action needed to be taken. She adds that the security of both staff and customers also prompted the change.
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"We're trying to accommodate everybody. We don't like it either but for us too, it was a battle all the time. We're the ones that have to come in in the morning and deal with it. People have to understand our position, too. It's scary sometimes because you're coming into work and you don't know what you're going to face," says Cartwright.

Post office staff are recording feedback from residents and Canada Post will reassess the operating hours in six months.

For clients that have difficulty picking up their mail in the 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. window that the Coleman and Blairmore post offices are open, Cartwright advises loaning the spare key to a reliable family member or friend who can pick up the mail for them. She adds that parcels are kept at the post office for 15 days after they are received, and if this amount of time is still insufficient for the client, they can make a special arrangement to request staff to hold it for longer on a case-by-case basis.
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May 16th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 20
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