People in Granum have been without a post office for months and are looking for answers

The Canada Post outlet in Granum closed unexpectedly in October and the nearest mail run is a 40-kilometre round trip.

Area resident says no one is replying to his concerns

Canada Post has closed its Granum post office after health and safety concerns with the building. (Google Streetview)

For locals in Granum, Alta., daily exercise often included a trip to the post office. But last year, what used to be a quick walk suddenly turned into a 40-kilometre round trip.

The postal outlet in the southern Alberta hamlet closed due to health and safety concerns for both employees and customers, according to a statement from Canada Post, which did not explain exactly what those concerns are.

As a result, customers were asked to drive 20 kilometres up Highway 2 to Claresholm in order to pick up parcels, letters and other documents sent through the mail.

Granum resident William Luke said the arrangement has been a headache for those who are retired and live on a fixed income and for people with a disability, like himself. They find it hard and expensive to make the trip, just for mail. 

"People are frustrated with it," Luke said.

"It's very inconvenient, especially this time of year."

After several months of increased traffic at the Claresholm outlet, he said Granum customers were asked to line up at the back of the building, due to crowding issues.

"They don't have disabled access in the back," Luke said. "So a lot of the older people have difficulties checking their mail."

William Luke says he can only afford to check the mail once a week in Claresholm. (Helen Pike/CBC)

One of the most frustrating parts is not having answers, Luke said. He said he tried contacing Canada Post, his local MLA and his local MP but has yet to receive any response.

"Even at the post office when I asked about it … I was given the cold shoulder," Luke said. 

John Barlow, the Member of Parliament for Foothills, told CBC News he's heard concerns from constituents and is monitoring the situation.

MP thankful postal service will be maintained

"Finding a location in Granum certainly is a challenge," Barlow said. "In saying that, we're just extremely happy that Canada Post has committed to maintaining the postal service in Granum instead of going to super boxes or closing the facility altogether."

He said he was told on Jan. 20 that an interim post office would be ready to open in Granum in four to six weeks.

In a statement, Canada Post said a temporary location has been secured and will open up as soon as Feb. 8. 

"Canada Post is looking for a permanent location in Granum and will continue to communicate our progress with the members of the community," the statement said.

"We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience and thank them for their patience and understanding while we work to resolve this issue."

Luke said it's a relief to know they won't have to make the drive much longer to pick up mail, but added it would have been nice to get some direct communication from Canada Post, or any of the politicians he contacted.

"I just wish the people that are running the place would have a little more consideration for others," he said.