Sandy Hook residents went more than two weeks without receiving a single piece of regular mail, Coast Reporter has learned from affected residents.
On April 14, Canada Post spokesperson Eunice Machuhi confirmed by email that about 1,400 residents in Sandy Hook did not receive their regular mail service for more than two weeks between March 29 and April 13.
Although some residents went to the post office in person to pick up mail before service resumed, it wasn’t available for them, as it hadn’t been sorted yet.
In an email, Canada Post told Coast Reporter that it began to sort the mail for Sandy Hook again on April 14 and regular mail delivery would resume for the area, after being interrupted by “unexpected staffing issues.”
Parcel delivery began again on April 5, after also being stopped on March 29. Canada Post did not answer whether the outgoing mail pick-up was also impacted.
Residents had received no notice of the mail interruption.
“Despite our best efforts, we were not able to notify those customers that we could not deliver their mail and intended to do so the next day. Day-to-day delivery continues to be based on available staff,” Machuhi said by email on April 17.
“We are working hard to find a temporary replacement and resume regular mail delivery as soon as possible. We thank our customers for their patience and understanding.”
Sandy Hook resident Margot O’Reilly told Coast Reporter on April 13 that she checked her mailbox every day for two weeks.
At first, O’Reilly thought there was confusion over the recently changed postal codes. Although residents had previously received letters about upcoming postal code changes, the notice from Canada Post said the change is only supposed to come into effect on April 19, and the previous code is supposed to remain valid for a year. But when she called Canada Post, O’Reilly said she was told they had no record of her previous postal code. On April 13, she went to the post office to see if she could pick up her mail and that’s when she was told the mail carrier was on medical leave.
“So it hasn’t been sorted and it hasn’t been delivered in two weeks because somebody’s sick,” O’Reilly said. “At the end of the day, you’re waiting for something that’s not being delivered and no one’s told you why and no one’s told you to go to your post office and pick your stuff up.”
She said she doesn’t understand why they didn’t find another way to deliver the mail or have it ready for pick-up. “To me, it’s a no brainer.”
On April 13, O’Reilly said she was promised she would get her mail the following day. By April 16, she had received one piece of junk mail. She said she believes they’re taking action now because of the pressure from residents.
For Laurel Ennis, a Sandy Hook resident with dual citizenship, the delay in delivery means she is still waiting to receive her U.S. stimulus check that was mailed out on March 26. If the cheque isn’t delivered, Ennis has to wait for it to be returned to the U.S. It will then be resent by mail or deposited directly to her, but Ennis said that process could take months to receive the money she needs now.
“I’m very concerned about the money that’s not getting to me,” Ennis said, adding that she called the office of MP Patrick Weiler to share her concerns about the situation.
On April 14, Ennis said, she got a call from Canada Post apologizing for the interruption to mail service.
“I appreciate the apology,” she said, but was still frustrated by the abrupt stop to delivery without taking additional measures such as hiring or covering the route. Not delivering mail, she said, “that’s never the option.”