Re-routing the mail not favourable

by Phil Ambroziak

Retired Dorintosh postmistress Ruth Ridsdale believes in the old saying, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

Ridsdale, who recently retired from her role at the Dorintosh post office after 38 years of service, has now voiced her disapproval of Canada Post’s decision to re-route incoming mail to her community.

“They say they’re trying to improve things, but we had superb mail service for years,” Ridsdale said.

Canada Post officials met with members of Dorintosh council, as well as Waterhen Lake First Nation members in late June to explain that – as of July 2 – incoming mail traditionally sorted in North Battleford, sent to Meadow Lake and then picked up by a contractor for delivery to Dorintosh would now be sorted in Saskatoon before following a different route. Ridsdale said the mail now comes through Turtleford, Loon Lake and Goodsoil, before arriving in Dorintosh. The change, she added, came after a decision by the person responsible for bringing the mail to Dorintosh from Meadow Lake, not to renew his contract with Canada Post.

“We need to have someone bringing it out from Meadow Lake because we were getting our mail by 10:30 a.m.,” Ridsdale continued. “And, if something was sent out, it would be in Meadow Lake in time to be back at North Battleford that same night. Since last week, we haven’t been getting our mail until around 3 p.m.”

Ridsdale went on to say, if outgoing mail were to follow a similar route, it would mean letters and packages might have to stay in Goodsoil overnight before making their way to Saskatoon for processing.

“If that’s the case, you might as well jump in your car, drive it to Meadow Lake and send it from there,” she said.
While Canada Post officials did not comment on the specific route change noted by Ridsdale, media spokesperson Phil Legault did say there would be no changes to the service provided as a result of the mail now being sorted in Saskatoon instead of North Battleford. Meadow Lake postal workers confirmed, as of July 2, this process would also be in place for incoming mail to this community.

“In Meadow Lake and other communities, internal mail will still be handled at the local post office,” Legault said. “External mail, however, will now go to Saskatoon first to take advantage of newer sorting technology.”
Legault added, since 2006, Canada Post has been dealing with a huge reduction in the volume of letter mail and it makes more sense to streamline things in an effort to improve efficiency. Ridsdale, however, continues to stress how frustrating she finds the new system to be.

“Why aren’t they paying attention and do what’s best for their customers?” she wondered. “I believe mail coming to Goodsoil used to come through St. Walburg, which made more sense. Our mail shouldn’t come all around the west before getting to us. This is a farming and ranching community, and a lot of things are time-sensitive.”

Meanwhile, Legault noted the post office in Dorintosh will continue to serve the community with the same array of services that have always been offered

“We will initiate the hiring process shortly,” he said of Ridsdale’s retirement. “Until a replacement postmaster/postmistress is hired, the post office will continue to be well-served by two temporary employees.”

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