Carl Dewey speaks to members of Highlands East council at a public meeting about the Gooderham post office on Sept. 26 at the Robert McCausland Memorial Community Centre. ANGELICA INGRAM Staff

Emotions run high at meeting to discussfuture of Gooderham post office

By Angelica Ingram

Sept. 28 2016

The residents of Gooderham feel likethe heart and soul of their community is being taken away from themby the members of Highlands East council.

It was an emotional evening on Sept. 26at the Robert McCausland Memorial Community Centre as more than 50residents came to voice their opinion o n council's decision toterminate their dealership agreement with Canada Post.

The decision was made by Highlands Eastcouncillors earlier this year and on Sept. 26 Reeve Dave Burtonannounced a new location for the post office had been selected.

“We've received notification thatCanada Post has secured a replacement for the post office the newGooderham postal outlet will be located at the Gooderham Lucky Dollarand will be ready to serve you on January 3 2017” said Burton.

The reeve went on to say the newlocation would have expanded hours serving residents from Monday toSunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and that box numbers would be staying thesame for residents.

As for the municipal employee who worksin the post office she would not be let go but rather moved toanother position for succession planning said Burton.

“We would like to dispel the rumoursthat the library is closing. The library is not closing” saidBurton. “The building department is not being moved.”

A representative from Canada Post wassupposed to attend the public meeting but could not due to sicknesssaid Burton.

The meeting was held at the request ofa number of Gooderham residents said Highlands East clerk IreneCook.

Members of the public didn't waste anytime expressing how they felt about council's decision citing themove a blow to the town of Gooderham.

Chuck Viner who has been outspoken onthe issue for the past few months said he was part of the councilthat hired the post mistress 20 years ago.

“I keep reading about how everybodyelse has their post office in another facility” said Viner.“What's wrong with us being different? Where is it ingrained instone that we have to do exactly what everybody else does?”

Viner further added the community ofGooderham gets few services and that the post office is a veryimportant facility for the town.

“When you stop and think of howlittle we in this ward get for our tax dollars” said Viner whowas interrupted by thunderous applause. “I think you're doing us agreat disservice.”

Viner said council was elected torepresent the community however they were “doing a bad job.”

Councillor Cam McKenzie said hebelieved the transition would mean better hours and service for theresidents.

Councillor Cec Ryall whose wardencompasses Gooderham emphasized throughout the meeting that he waselected to represent all of Glamorgan township and not justGooderham.

Resident Alf Trotter said his concernwas with how the decision was handled by council.

“I think the issue really is we'rehearing this after the fact” he said. “We should have had thismeeting six months ago.”

Burton said the initial meeting todiscuss the changes was a closed meeting due to the fact staffemployment was included.

Council said the decision would equateto a savings of $50000 a year. The decision comes as a result ofpressures and expenses including the new OPP billing model septicre-inspection and more said councillors.

Councillor Joan Barton said themunicipality was being “royally penalized” by the new OPP billingsystem and that they “cannot pass all of that increase onto you.”

“We have to make cuts in every ward”said Barton.

Resident Bev MacDuff questioned whatcuts were being made in other parts of the municipality.

“If it's a matter of money there'sother ways to save it take away benefits for councillors take awaylunches. Brown bag it” said MacDuff.

Joan Trotter echoed those sentimentspointing to money spent on the new information centre in Wilberforceand what she called “wasted money” on developing a plan forGreens Mountain.

“You think you got in because youwere the best people but you got in because there was no otherchoice” she said to members of council.

In a heated moment Ryall reiterated tothose in attendance that Glamorgan is not just Gooderham and that hewas adamant that the building would not be used for anything otherthan a post office until a suitable alternative was found.

“Now that we have an alternativelocation for a post office now we can start looking at other thingsthat can be done within this area. So is anything else going to beclosing in Glamorgan not if I have anything to do with it” hesaid. “I protect Gooderham like anything else … as you can seeI'm as heated about this town as you are. I live here. This is mytown.”

Viner said the post office is used bynot just Gooderham residents but by many in Glamorgan township.

“You don't know what goes on in ourpost office and furthermore you don't care” said Viner. “That'swhere the problem is.”