Access PEI Montague

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The doors to Access PEI in Montague will remain closed until October 2 as a contactless service pilot program has been extended.

Joanne MacKenzie of Georgetown isn’t impressed.

Her 84-year-old mother, who lives in Montague, had to go to Souris to get her driver’s license and vehicle registration renewed recently.

“It is called access PEI and they have these regional offices set up for the very reason for people to access them locally instead of having to drive extra distance,” Ms MacKenzie said.

A spokesperson from the province said the office delivered 22,733 services by email and telephone over 13 weeks and it was that uptake that prompted the pilot extension.

“The pilot provides Islanders more flexible options for service, including contactless service and/or allows them to avoid lineups in some cases,” the spokesperson said.

Ms MacKenzie doesn’t see it as a more flexible option, especially for seniors.

“How many seniors are going to do it online?” she said.

Montague/Kilmuir MLA Cory Deagle said he hasn’t fielded an abundance of calls on the changes.

“There are certainly some people who have been in touch who would like to see it open for in-person service, but many people are using the online options,” Mr Deagle said.

“The biggest obstacle would be for those people who don’t have a credit card.”

Ms MacKenzie said the lack of information on the way services are now being delivered is also an issue.

“It is just not accessible enough and too confusing for people,” she added.

Ms MacKenzie has had her own headaches with Access PEI over the past several months as well.

In the early part of the COVID shutdown she said she had to take a very confusing route through a maze of phone calls to get a water test done.

Prior to the Access PEI closure the public could drop into the centre and pick up a water test kit and when completed drop the sample back off there.

Just last week she also discovered, through RCMP doing a trace on her license plate, the registration on her vehicle was not in the system.

After dealing with a polite, friendly and helpful employee at Access PEI in Souris, she said, the problem was found to be a glitch in the system.

Access PEI offices currently open to the public include O’Leary, Summerside, Wellington, Charlottetown and Souris. The Tignish office opened to the public on Monday, September 14.

The Charlottetown office extended open hours last week to “serve more Islanders and alleviate wait times,” according to a press release.

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