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

Victoria Women’s Expo showcases the latest trends

Over 100 vendors feature lots of beauty, health, food, jewelry products and more

Songhees Wellness Centre event immersed in indigenous cuisine and culture

Camosun and Songhees cook together for reconciliation while fundraising for student scholarship fund at March 23 event

‘Killer’ teaches boxing basics

Step-by-step moves can be practised at home

Roses – for beauty and bees

For decades I’ve envied my sister’s ability to grow stunning roses. She… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

UPDATED: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

Most Read