The Merville General Store. Photo courtesy of Google

The Merville General Store. Photo courtesy of Google

The Merville General Store in the Comox Valley says Canada Post owes them almost $30,000 in missed rent.

The store’s owner Chris Ellis says the Crown corporation’s grandfathered lease agreement to operate in his store expired in 2013.

He says he notified them right away of the agreement coming to an end, and his new plan to charge $210 a month.

Canada Post allegedly argued the agreement was valid until 2021.

Rent originally cost the postal service $1 a month.

“We gave them a long time to produce these documents [of the 2021 clause] and it just steamrolled from there,” said Ellis. “They just never paid — never paid — and I finally gave them a demand letter.”

Ellis said he sent the letter in the summer of 2017 asking for $9,000 and warning of a rent increase to $1,500 if they did not respond.

Five months later Canada Post allegedly responded, offering $6,800 — by that time Ellis says they owed even more.

He then resorted to charging seven per cent interest and a $25 monthly penalty, on top of the new rent cost.

“We have been adamant all along that we would not evict them because we don’t want to lose the post office,” added Ellis. “They have been in contact throughout the night with me [after going public] and they have an offer pending, it’s just going through their legal department.”

He is worried that soon the amount could exceed $35,000, forcing him to go to the Supreme Court of B.C. to resolve the matter.

Canada Post told CHEK News Saturday that they are looking into the situation and have no further comment at this time.

Julian Kolsut