The District of Mission wants first right of purchase when the historic post office building on First Avenue becomes available for sale.

Future of the downtown Mission post office unclear

Mission council is asking for the first right of purchase when the downtown post office building goes up for sale.

The historic post office building on First Avenue could be put to civic use.

Mission council is asking for the first right of purchase when the downtown post office building goes up for sale and is asking for more consultation  to determine where community mailboxes will be placed.

Council made the requests when members met with Mission’s Member of Parliament, Randy Kamp at a special meeting earlier this week.

“(The building) is an historic piece of this community,” said Mayor Randy Hawes. “I don’t want it to be (turned into) a pawn shop or Burger King. We will consult the community and put it to good use.”

Kamp said he has been told a decision has not yet been made to relocate the current First Avenue operation, and that Canada Post (CP) makes its own operational decisions.

“They (CP) has assured us that if they do reach that stage and decide what to do with the building, they will involve us, and we’ve asked them to involve you,” explained Kamp. “I’m confident you will be a part of it when they get there.”

As for the new community mailboxes, (CMB) Kamp explained CP is a federal corporation that is required by legislation to break even, and when the Conference Board of Canada found the corporation would be “significantly in the red” for a number of years, changes were made.

One part of the plan is to eliminate door-to-door service.

“Two-thirds of the country are already using community mailboxes,” said Kamp, noting the federal government supports the corporation’s decision.

Mission’s director of engineering, Tracy Kyle explained Canada Post provided the district with about 200 possible locations for  the CMBs, but didn’t give staff enough time to investigate each location to make sure there was appropriate lighting and easily accessible.

“We found about 12 (locations) we definitely didn’t want to see a box there,” said Kyle.

Hawes said other issues have not been addressed, such as where will residents collect their mail if a CMB is vandalized and broken into.

“That is an issue,” agreed Coun. Pam Alexis. “With the number of people ordering online, having to go to Abbotsford to pick up mail is crazy.”

Kamp expects there will be some difficulties with the transition, and said he would look into council’s concerns.