A city councillor says Canada Post’s plans for its new community mail box program is fraught with problems and unworkable for seniors and those with disabilities.
Coun. Ross Eadie said Canada Post appears prepared to erect the mail boxes on almost every block across a wide swath of north Winnipeg, north of Inkster Boulevard from the Red River to the CPR Arborg rail line.
"This won’t work," Eadie said. "People won’t be able to get to them, it’s going to cause parking and litter problems and eventually the city will be expected to fix the problems this creates."
The community mailbox program is Canada Post’s alternative to home delivery. The Crown agency announced in December it will phase out home delivery of mail over a five-year period and replace it with community mailboxes, similar to those that exist in new suburbs.
Two areas of north Winnipeg are part of the initial introduction of community mailboxes, which is expected to begin later this year.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is hosting a community forum tonight at Maples Collegiate, from 7 to 9 p.m., where area residents are being asked to present their concerns over the plan.
Eadie distributed a map of north Winnipeg, provided to him by Canada Post, which he said identifies the potential location of community mail boxes.
However, a Canada Post spokeswoman said the dots on the map indicate the home addresses of those people who responded to a survey, which asked where they would like the boxes to be located – smaller units, closer to their homes; or, larger units, located further from their homes.
The spokeswoman said potential location sites have not been determined.
Eadie said he is convinced the mailboxes will generate litter, as people discard unwanted flyers, and parking issues – for both Canada Post and area residents.
Eadie said the mailboxes will be erected on boulevards, adding that traditionally is where the city stores snow in winter.
"The mailboxes will be buried and people won’t be able to get to them," Eadie said, adding that the city does not plow residential sidewalks in winter, making accessibility a serious problem.
Eadie said that even if sidewalks are plowed, residents would have difficulty climbing the resulting windrows.
The situation is made worse for seniors and those with disabilities, he said.
"This fails the test of universal access design for people with disabilities," Eadie said. "Canada Post has no concern this is going to cause to people and municipalities."
Eadie said that when the mailboxes are extended into Winnipeg’s North End and West End, he expects there will be a spike in crime.
"People are going to be targeted going to mailboxes," Eadie said. "It’s going to be worse in some areas where crime is bad now, but it could happen in any part of the city."