Eastern PEI residents are wedged between a rock and a hard place it regards to the Access PEI centre in Montague.
Understandably the offices closed to the public in March during the province-wide shutdown.
Now while other branches open up Montague area residents are still shut out. It’s actually not just Montague but folks living in Wood Islands and beyond to Panmure Island, Cape Bear and all points in between who are affected.
The province initially offered a contactless service pilot program that would end on August 28. This has now been extended to October 2.
The bottom line is, because the doors to the government services are locked, customers are forced to either do their business online or travel to Souris or Charlottetown.
Thousands of transactions took place while the centre was closed - 22,733 to be precise.
People had no choice. Rigs still had to be registered and driver’s licences renewed.
So, where does that leave seniors, especially those without internet access or the desire to do business online?
Frustrated. That’s where.
Access PEI centres were built with tax dollars and those tax dollars were made available by the public, the same people who expect to have services available to them in the most convenient way possible.
The world may have embraced technology but eastern PEI has a large number of seniors who can’t afford to purchase computers on the meager cheques they receive from the government monthly.
Seniors paid their dues over the years through taxes and they deserve better.
Not all seniors have the desire to drive to Charlottetown or Souris to receive the same services they should be able to get locally.
Keeping the Montague centre closed isn’t reasonable and it’s not fair.
Centres in O’Leary, Summerside, Wellington, Charlottetown, Souris and Tignish are open to the public to offer one-on-one service.
Why does Montague remain closed?
To add to the insult, the Charlottetown office has now extended its hours to Saturday morning to provide high demand services such as driver’s licence renewals and vehicle registrations and transfers.
How is it even reasonable the doors remain locked in Montague?
It’s time to make some noise people - long and loud noise. Contact your MLA or write a letter to the premier, or both - demand what is rightfully yours.
Heather Moore is editor of The Eastern Graphic. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org