Mail resumes in Colville Lake after weeks-long delay

Colville Lake residents say they had not received mail for almost a month until parcels started arriving again on Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier the same day, Anna Lynne Ignacio said the absence of mail was unusual for the community of roughly 150 people, where mail normally arrives two to three times a week.

Ignacio said delays had first become apparent in November, adding: "We're the least priority. I can't do anything. I have to wait. I can't do anything without those mails."

While some residents were waiting for important documents, others had medication on the way, she said. Moreover, parcels coming from Edmonton cannot be tracked once they leave the province.

Ignacio's son, Joseph Howlett, said he had been waiting for recording equipment he ordered many weeks prior.

"We've been waiting since April for our stuff and it hasn't arrived," he said.

Lisa Liu, a spokesperson for Canada Post, confirmed "capacity issues" involving delivery by air resulted in delays that have now been resolved.

"After checking with our air transportation partners, we can confirm that there was a delay in mail delivery affecting Colville Lake in the past two weeks due to transportation capacity issues," Liu wrote in an email.

"We sincerely apologize to our customers for this inconvenience. As of Friday, June 7, mail delivery has resumed back to normal with mail being delivered three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays."

Colville Lake relies on North-Wright Airways for its mail deliveries. A response from the airline could not be arranged before this article's publication.

Mail delays also occurred during last summer's fires.

Though he hadn't heard complaints this time, Sahtu Dene Council Grand Chief Wilbert Kochon said a similar delay was one of the things communities had been preparing for ahead of wildfire season this year.

“There was no fire, but we still got affected by what happened in Yellowknife when everything stopped. We were not prepared for that,” Kochon said in an interview last month.

“No mail, no food, no fresh produce … I think next time, if there’s going to be an evacuation, they should let people know way ahead of time so we can prepare for a lot of other stuff.”

Claire McFarlane contributed reporting.

Aastha Sethi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio