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

Vancouver Island store owner says Canada Post owes him nearly $30,000

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

Ellis is the owner of the Merville General Store, 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 at 6635 N Island Highway 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.

He alleges Canada Post stopped paying rent when the lease expired.

“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 The Record 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

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Port McNeill Cannabis Committee stumbles out of the gate

ā€œIā€™m worried we could just be all over the map and I need to see a plan.ā€

Port Alice’s new RCMP officers going through clearance process

The medical process can take several months to complete as there are several steps involved.

East Zeballos placed under evacuation alert as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

BC Wildfire Service says rolling debris on steep terrain poses danger to firefighters

First responders, police march in funeral procession for Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

These are the highest-paid actresses of 2018

In its list released this week Forbes said all 10 earned a total of $186 million before tax

VIDEO: Fires break out in scrap piles at mill on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo firefighters got blazes under control in early morning hours Saturday at Harmac Pacific

Authorities mull evacuation order for Zeballos

Smoke billowed from the steep hillsides of Zeballos on Friday evening, as… Continue reading

Most Read