Clarity appears to have been lost in the mail as Canada Post prepares to officially change 7,200 addresses in Sechelt and Halfmoon Bay.
Earlier this month, residents of those communities searching for addresses on Canada Post’s website were startled to discover their postal codes had changed – sparking a flurry of comments on social media and questions to Canada Post.
While some say they were told the new postal codes wouldn’t take effect until next month, others noted the change had already happened, citing postage labels reflecting the switch or issues with websites that use automatic location finders.
In one case, Canada Post referred a Sechelt resident who noticed his postal code had changed on an online payment system to the District of Sechelt when he called for information.
Canada Post also appears to have provided conflicting guidance on whether residents should use the new postal codes, with some residents saying they were told to wait and others saying they were told they could start.
In an emailed statement to Coast Reporter, Canada Post said April 19 was the official switchover date, and that customers must be notified 30 days prior to the shift, “as per Canada Post’s process in these situations.”
The agency said letters have been prepared and should be received this week and that community names won’t be affected. Also, the notices “will inform customers of their new postal code and indicate when to begin using it.”
Customers will have a year to let correspondents know about their updated address, said the agency, and it will continue to deliver mail addressed to the old postal codes. Residents with changed addresses will also receive free mail redirection for one year.
The change was needed to support route modifications, “which are necessary to accommodate increased growth in the area and to improve overall delivery efficiencies,” Canada Post said.
“While postal code changes do not happen often and we go to great lengths not to change them, updates may be required for a variety of reasons,” said the agency. “They can happen when converting rural or general delivery addresses to civic/physical addresses. In each instance, we communicate with municipal leaders about the upcoming changes.”
District of Sechelt spokesperson Kerianne Poulsen said council and senior management were informed of the change last December and while the matter didn’t come forward at a public meeting, “we were told that Canada Post would be communicating to the public well in advance of the change.”
However, said Poulsen, “we did not receive any communication from them on the confirmed timeline until last week.”
Additionally, the agency told the district that “some online payment systems may be picking up the new postal codes already, but delivery services will not be affected if either the old or new codes are used.”