Canada Post is temporarily resuming mail delivery in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside after residents protested Tuesday against the decision to suspend postal services for “health and safety” reasons.
Mail deliveries had not been made between blocks 0 and 100 of East Hastings Street, the area between Carrall Street and Main Street, since March 23.
The company had said postal staff had ‘health and safety concerns’ about deliveries in the area, and an email shared with CBC News by a resident said deliveries stopped around mid -march because staff had faced “verbal abuse and drug use.”
But now delivery operations are expected to temporarily resume in the area from Tuesday to Friday, according to a Canada Post spokesperson.
“We have also extended hours for the Woodland Drive postal facility, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help residents pick up any mail they may need,” spokesperson Phil said. Legault.
“These measures are in place as we seek a more permanent solution to continue [to] provide service in a consistent and safe manner. »
“Mail is a human right”, says the lawyer
At a rally on Tuesday, Downtown Eastside residents and advocates gathered at the intersection of Hastings Street and Main Street to protest the suspension of mail delivery, saying it contributed to multiple inequalities for residents struggling with poverty, homelessness and the drug poisoning crisis.
Advocates also said the suspension puts the health and safety of those who rely on the mail to receive paychecks and social and disability assistance at risk.
“This is wrong. Mail is a human right,” said Hannah Dempsey, a community organizer with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.
“People are waiting for their welfare checks… their disability checks, they’re waiting for letters from home. They’re waiting for essentials to arrive home.”
Dempsey says the collection center on Woodland Drive, which is 14 blocks from the heart of the Hastings and Main neighborhood, was too far for residents, given that some of them have mobility issues.
“I think it is [the decision] …because of the work we did on the ground, we organized, we got together, we talked about the issue of them getting back into service,” she said. “They are feeling the pressure, and that’s what we want to do.”
Dempsey says many residents only found out from the media that deliveries were suspended a few weeks ago, and that has left some of them scrambling for options.
The last week of the month being “weekly check” – the day disability and living assistance payments are mailed to British Columbia – Dempsey says the decision has left many residents unresponsive.
“I’m glad to hear the mail is picking up, but I think this is a larger pattern of war on the Downtown Eastside poor, and it has to stop,” Dempsey said.