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City asks Canada Post for more time on changes to home delivery

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A letter carrier makes his rounds on Grosvenor Avenue in River Heights on Dec. 11.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

A letter carrier makes his rounds on Grosvenor Avenue in River Heights on Dec. 11. Photo Store

Plans by Canada Post to replace home mail delivery with community mail boxes will not work in Winnipeg’s older neighbourhoods.

That’s the message Winnipeg city council is sending to Ottawa and the national mail service.

"Our older, mature neighbourhoods were never designed for community mail boxes," said Coun. Ross Eadie, who brought the issue to council Wednesday along with Coun. Paula Havixbeck.

Two neighbourhoods in northwest Winnipeg will be among 11 areas across the country to be the first to get the community mailboxes in the fall — the first step in ending home mail delivery nationwide.

Councillors lined up to join the chorus of complaints over the switch.

"Canada Post hasn’t the foggiest idea how they’re going to deal with mature neighbourhoods and also deal with seniors who are to the point where they really can’t get out themselves, especially in winter," Eadie said.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said several municipalities have the same concerns and are demanding Canada Post consult with them before ending home mail delivery.

Coun. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface) said seniors are concerned about being able to struggle through snow-covered sidewalks to reach the community mail boxes.

"There’s been zero consultation on this," with municipalities, Vandal said.

Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) said Winnipeg needs to delay the end of home delivery to force Canada Post to discuss the outstanding concerns.

Mayor Sam Katz conceded that the city has little leverage in getting Ottawa and Canada Post to delay its plan.

"It’s a gesture from council," Katz told reporters. "We don’t have the authority or the power," to stop Canada Post.

Katz said he recognizes that Canada Post is trying to adapt as Canadians embrace the Internet and email but added there are legitimate concerns with eliminating home mail delivery.

"We’ll make them aware of it, write them a letter and I’ll report back to council."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 6:33 PM CST: Full write-thru.

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