Mail delivery has been suspended on two blocks of East Hastings Street in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside due to “health and safety” concerns raised by Canada Post employees, the corporation confirmed.
CTV News has learned letter carriers complained about seeing drug use, and being verbally assaulted. “It is our responsibility to ensure that our employees, who visit hundreds of addresses every day, can deliver mail and parcels safely,” wrote Canada Post spokesperson Valérie Chartrand in an email.
Local businesses and residents in the affected area on East Hastings between Carrall and Main streets must now pick-up their mail 14 blocks away at the facility on Woodland Drive. The postal pick up facility is not open on the weekens and residents were told it closes at 2 p.m.
Canada Post said that the suspension was temporary, but didn’t indicate when door-to-door delivery service will resume.
“When there is a situation at a delivery location that is unsafe for our employees, we work with the customer or property management to resolve the issue and resume regular service as soon as possible,” Chartrand continued.
East Hastings resident Bianca Barr said she understands that conditions in the neighbourhood make some people uneasy.
“It’s extremely sad, and before I moved here I was also like ‘Can I handle living in this neighbourhood?’” she explained. “It’s years and years of I don’t know, the city doesn’t know what to do either.
She has admitted she grew to like it it took a lot getting use comfortable around the open drug use and crime.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart suggested expanding “complex care housing” for those facing mental health challenges. But didn’t address the issue with drug crime putting the drugs on the street while passing the buck to the federal government.
“Whether it’s expanding complex care housing for those facing mental health challenges, moving away from sub-standard private SROs, or pushing senior governments to take action on the overdose crisis, we are working night and day to help vulnerable neighbours live full and supported lives, and in turn promote safer and stronger communities for all,” wrote Stewart.
Canada Post apologized for the inconvenience, but insisted it is working on a “long-term solution.”