By Bromley Chamberlain
Rimbey is expanding; seven years ago the population of Rimbey was just over 2,000 and today it is around 2,500.
The Rimbey post office relocated in 2002 and built 400 extra boxes to accommodate the growing town. As of July, all extra boxes were full.
“At this point there are about 12 people (on general delivery.) Right now, the wait is about six weeks (for a box), and that’s very general,” postmaster Marnie Bland, explained.
Any newcomers to the Rimbey area are put on general delivery and are added to a waiting list for a post office box.
The Rimbey office is open from 8:30 am till 5:30 pm, Monday to Friday and Saturday from nine a.m. till noon to help accommodate general delivery customers who are required to pick up their mail during business hours.
“I think with the Saturday hours it is accommodating to the public,” Bland said.
The Rimbey area has grown immensely since the post office was built in 2002.
“Just in that time span we had an extreme growth, and now with the economy still in being in the toilet, people are starting to go back where they came from because the work isn’t available,” Bland said.
Being put on general delivery can be inconvenient but the post office is accommodating newcomers with a six-month free change of address to help ease the transition.
“There has been huge growth in the Rimbey area, actually all places in Alberta has experienced a lot of growth,” said Teresa Williams, a spokesperson for Canada Post.
“We have some offices where the waiting list for a box is a year, or more. Being in an area where you’ve got a six-week wait, that’s actually pretty good.”
Since Alberta has experienced an enormous amount of growth over the past few years the post office was not prepared for such a substantial increase in requests for post office boxes.
“Normally 400 boxes in a reasonably small area, like Rimbey, in another province, the growth is reasonably steady and reasonably slow. As of July, all 400 extra boxes had been assigned. So the waiting list we have is a new phenomenon for Rimbey,” Williams said.
The Internet has affected the way the mail looks, and Canada Post had anticipated a major impact on Canada Post. Williams said, “More people tend to purchase items off the Internet, and the best way for most people to get their parcels sent to them is through Canada Post. Our letter mail volume has decreased but our parcels have been increasing so there has been a change in how the mail looks but our volumes have not decreased as significantly as we had anticipated.”