The Post Office, an historic building and the smallest free-standing post office in Canada, received notice that it would have to move when the old General Store property (near the Whaletown public wharf) changed hands in 2019. The PO stands inside that property line, and the new owners were not willing to pay a large surcharge on their insurance policy to cover a “commercial operation” on their property.
Whaletown residents mobilised quickly to reimburse the property owners for six months’ worth of the insurance surcharge, to buy more time to solve the problem. An ad hoc committee formed to discuss possible alternative locations. This committee has met several times and considered several sites, but many feel that the most sensible site would be next to the Whaletown Community Hall.
While Gorge Harbour Marina owners Richard and Michele Glickman were willing to host the homeless Post Office on a corner of their resort property (near the swingset), this location turned out to be less than ideal. The Glickmans were only willing to offer an eighteen-month commitment (so there was some risk of having to move the tiny building yet again); and VIHA objected to frequent vehicle traffic within 100 feet of the Gorge Hall well which is very close to the proposed location.
If a popular destination such as the Post Office were sited there, VIHA warned that they might close the Hall parking lot to a distance of 100 feet from the well. This would mean losing about one third of WCC’s total parking space (and presenting disabled and elderly clientele with a longish trudge to get their mail or packages).
However, the Post Office could be located closer to the Hall itself. On the 26th of January at a regular General Meeting, members present voted overwhelmingly to accept the Post Office as a ground-rent tenant, should no better location be found. Only 4 members dissented.
Situating the Post Office at the Hall still presents challenges, as it cannot be located directly beneath power lines or block essential building access. The Post Office committee and the WCC Board continue to discuss alternatives, hoping to find a suitable and permanent new location for the PO before the end of March.