It’s official, Manly Post Office is relocating to an as yet unidentified new premises in Manly and not returning to the shop familiar to customers at 22 Central Ave, north of The Corso.
After months of mixed messages and confusion, fuelling speculation of legal jousting over rent charges and the physical condition of the Post Office Shop (which was inundated with stormwaters during localised flooding at the start of 2022), a decision has been reached.
On 29 August, venue proprietors Belle Property placed the For Lease sign back in the former Post Office Shop window.
The following morning, Zali Steggall MP said she had met with an Australia Post executive (Tanny Mangos) who had confirmed that the Manly Post Office was relocating.
“I was assured Australia Post intended to continue having an outlet in Manly and we’re hoping to soon be in a position to provide an update to the community with a plan to open in a new retail site ahead of Christmas this year.”
Yesterday, an Australia Post official spokesperson confirmed the move to Manly Observer: “We will continue to provide services including parcel collection, PO Boxes and bill payments in our post office at 22 Central Avenue Manly, until we move into a new location.
“We have identified a new site and we look forward to opening our new post office in Manly by the end of the year.”
We have not been advised of the new location.
The former post office and shop at 22 Central Ave was closed and its windows blacked-out in mid-March 2022 following an East Coast Low intense weather phenomenon. The torrential rains that accompanied it inundated streets in North Manly with stormwater and caused minor flooding at a number of low-lying premises around Sydney Rd and Pittwater Rd, including the post office.
Australia Post placed a notice in the shop window, stating: “Due to ongoing fallout from the recent flooding, Manly PO is temporarily closed from Friday 18 March. This is because the health and safety of our customers is our highest priority…”
Customers were advised to travel to Dee Why Post Office to collect PO Box mail and carded parcels, or further afield to Balgowlah, Balgowlah Heights, Freshwater, Harbord West and Warringah Mall for counter services.
The poster apologised to customers with the comment, “Timing is uncertain at this stage, but we are hopeful of restoring normal service within a couple of weeks.”
However, several weeks elapsed and despite other floodwater-affected premises reopening for business, the post office remained closed, with customers directed to go elsewhere.
Then, inexplicably, a ‘For Lease’ sign appeared in the 22 Central Ave shop window at the end of April, posted by Belle Property. The realtor’s sign declared, “Rare large ground floor offering with prime exposure” plus “25m2 storeroom, shared parking for 6 cars, can be subdivided.”
On 28 April Manly Observer reported on the situation, and we were assured all would be resolved soon.
We were made aware of tense negotiations between Australia Post and the property owner regarding the rental agreement, due to expire at the end of December 2022.
A spokesperson for Australia Post told us, “Manly Post Office was temporarily closed in March due to severe flooding, which resulted in extensive damage. Following a detailed assessment, a full re-fit of the premises is required, which will take some time to complete.
“Australia Post is working to confirm its temporary pop-up site in Manly in the coming days, and once confirmed it will look to open in the coming weeks. Australia Post remains focused on restoring a full-service Post Office to Manly as soon as we can. We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused our local customers and we will keep the community informed of our progress.”
Warringah MP Zali Steggall told Manly Observer that Australia Post had also informed her a temporary post office was forthcoming.
However, at the end of May, ten weeks after Manly Post Office was originally closed, Australia Post revealed that they wouldn’t be opening the planned pop-up post office due to “a lack of disability access” at the available premises they had inspected in Manly town centre.
And yet this reporter roamed around Central Manly and found several empty premises, a few of them former cafes closed due to the Covid pandemic, that appeared to have decent wheelchair access from street level.
Manly Observer asked Australia Post if a lack of disability access was the main reason why a temporary store couldn’t be leased, or were there other factors.
Australia Post replied, “We have been working hard to restore services at the current post office site, although due to the extensive flood damage, significant remediation works were needed to ensure the safety of our people and customers.
“A new concrete slab had to be poured and dried before work could continue. Due to the current cold weather, dehumidifiers and heaters were needed to expedite this process.”
Australia Post partially reopened, but only its parcel pick up and PO Box services, on July 12.
Until further notice, only this limited service is operating from a hatch at the rear of the shop at 22 Central Ave, Manly, 7.30am-5pm Mondays to Fridays.
Belle Property were contacted for this article.