Merville Store owner Chris Ellis says Canada Post owes him nearly $30,000 in unpaid rent. Photo by Erin Haluschak

Canada Post owes Vancouver Island store owner nearly $30,000 in rent

Chris Ellis says Canada Post owes him nearly $30,000 in unpaid rent dating back a few years.

Chris Ellis is waiting for his very important cheque in the mail.

Ellis is the owner of the Merville General Store on Vancouver Island, and says Canada Post owes him nearly $30,000 in unpaid rent.

“When you’ve got a contract and someone doesn’t oblige, that’s not right.”

The Canada Post operation has been within the store north of the Comox Valley for years – prior to Ellis purchasing the store – and has one unionized staff member employed by the Crown corporation.

He says the grandfathered lease expired in 2013, and he has been asking the corporation to sign a new lease since before the expiration date.

“They claimed they had a copy of the lease valid until 2021, but they’ve never been able to provide it. They finally confirmed to me it was just an internal email. I was bugging them for a long time to get things down on paper.”

Ellis wanted to keep the rent at $210/month, but in Aug. 2017, he sent Canada Post a letter asking for $9,000 he was owed and served them 30 days with a rent increase to $1,500.

He admits it was a huge jump but he was hoping the corporation would pay the funds owed. The notice stipulated Canada Post had to pay the rent increase, or if they chose not to, could no longer occupy the property.

Initially, neither option came to fruition, but a few months later, Ellis received a cheque for just under $7,000. By that time, he was charging the new rent increase, interest and a penalty. He adds there was no paperwork in place outside of the notice of rent increase.

A few days ago, Ellis received a call from Canada Post to alert him a new cheque was in the mail. He is uncertain of the amount.

He has since met with his lawyers to see what his options are to proceed with legal action.

“I’m not being greedy, I just want what’s owed to me. I’ve got a family to feed, I’ve got staff. It has dramatically affected my business. Financial institutions aren’t as friendly with credit; it’s cost my business several hundred thousand dollars in sales because my finances are tied up – I don’t have the inventory I normally would.”

While he wants the funds, Ellis says he does not want to see the post office leave. For residents in the Merville area, the closest parcel pickup without the location would be either Courtenay or Black Creek.

“I don’t think it is in Canada Post’s best interest to vacate the property – it would be more bad publicity than not paying rent.”

When contacted by Black Press for an interview, Canada Post offered the following emailed statement: “We are working to resolve the situation. We have no other comment at this time.”

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

West Kelowna candidates discuss new city hall

This week learn about how your candidates feel about a new city hall in West Kelowna

Science teachers converge on Kelowna for conference

Exposing new instructional classroom tools for science teachers

Okanagan competitors to be featured in arm wrestling documentary

Arm Nation, featuring competitions from Kelowna and Penticton, will air on Oct. 20 on APTN

Former Vernon man guilty of Japanese exchange student’s murder

Natsumi Kogawa was found at empty heritage mansion shortly after she was reported missing in 2016

Cough cough: Kelowna MLA gets flu shot to prep for the cold season

Steve Thomson got his flu shot from Lakeside Medicine Centre Friday

Watch it again: Kelowna mayoral candidates square off

Missing the LIVE Kelowna mayoral debate watch now

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Black trucks figure prominently in Shuswap thefts

Chase RCMP investigating stolen vehicles from several communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Most Read