Regular mail service to Penelkaut Island that started around the same time as COVID-19 restrictions in mid-March has been a godsend for the Penelakut Tribe.
“It saves people having to go to the other side for the mail,” said Administrator Jim Chisholm. “Alistair MacGregor was a big, big help in getting us that mail service. He gets things done.”
MacGregor, the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP, first became involved in February of 2018 when the matter was brought to the attention of his office by a constituent.
The following month, a letter was sent to the Minister of Public Service and Procurement, and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs on behalf of the Penelakut First Nation.
In July of 2018, the Minister of Public Service and Procurement, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, replied to MacGregor’s letter, mentioning she had forwarded his concerns to the management team at Canada Post and they would be contacting the Penelakut First Nation.
MacGregor received a letter in November of 2018 from Canada Post offering its support and direct contact information, which was forwarded to the Penelakut office. No further correspondence was received after that by his office before service began in March.
“After several years and multiple conversations with concerned constituents from Chemainus, government officials, as well as Penelakut Tribe members, I am pleased to learn that the postal needs of Penelakut Island residents will be adequately addressed,” MacGregor noted. “This issue demonstrates that through community involvement and activism, real change can be achieved.”
“We get mail delivery daily and it’s wonderful,” said Chisholm. “It saves people having to go over to Chemainus to get their mail.”
Most Penelakut residents had boxes in Chemainus on Croft Street, a short walk from the ferry terminal, but it’s obviously much better to have it brought to their fingertips.
“It’s been a very smooth transition,” said Chisholm.
A bank of boxes is located at the band office and people have their own individual mail keys.