Last Tuesday, the Port McNeill town council decided to stand up for an old, dusty friend.
That friend? It’s our last, lonely… payphone.
This relic is the last of its kind and still stands strong and proud outside the community’s IGA.
It may seem like a blast from the past that no one uses (unless it’s for an Instagram photo), but councillor Shelley Downey thinks otherwise.
“I often, when shopping at the grocery store, see people using this phone. It is used,” Downey said.
Telus, however, gave their notice that they’ll remove the phone due to a “decline in usage.”
While the councillors agreed the payphone doesn’t get used as much in today’s day and age, they felt it still had value in the community.
Folks reached out to council to ask that they keep the phone. “Why would they bother sending us a letter if it wasn’t perceived to be of value or have some significance to our community,” said Downey. “Not everyone can afford a cell phone.”
There was one sticking point in the discussion, though: the phone’s location. Technically it’s on IGA’s private property.
“If this was on town property, I could see us maybe getting involved. I just don’t see a place for us to dictate on a payphone that is on private property,” said Councillor Derek Koel.
But in the end, Councillor Ryan Mitchell made a motion that staff contact IGA to see if they would support keeping the phone.
“Telephone access is a universal necessity, and I’ve many times seen people at that payphone early in the morning—including boaters and visitors,” said Councillor Ryan Mitchell
Port McNeill council will follow up with Telus to keep the almost-extinct species alive so long as IGA agrees.
The phone may be ancient, but it’s not a fossil yet.