A city councillor says Canada Post’s plans for its new community-mailbox program is fraught with problems and unworkable for seniors and the disabled.
Coun. Ross Eadie said Canada Post appears prepared to erect the mailboxes on almost every block across a wide swath of Winnipeg north of Inkster Boulevard from the Red River to the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Arborg 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 in new suburbs.
Two areas of north Winnipeg are included in the introduction of community mailboxes, which is expected to begin later this year.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers held a community forum Wednesday night at Maples Collegiate, where area residents aired their concerns about the plan.
Eadie distributed a map of north Winnipeg provided to him by Canada Post, which he said includes the locations of the community mailboxes.
However, a Canada Post spokeswoman said the dots on the map indicate the home addresses of people who responded to a survey asking where they would like the boxes located — smaller units closer to their homes or larger units farther 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 will create parking issues for both Canada Post and area residents.
He said the mailboxes will be erected on boulevards — where the city traditionally stores snow in winter.
"The mailboxes will be buried and people won’t be able to get to them," Eadie said, adding the city does not plow residential sidewalks in winter, making accessibility a serious problem.
He said even if sidewalks are plowed, residents would have difficulty climbing the 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," he said. "Canada Post has no concern (about the problems) this is going to cause to people and municipalities."
Eadie said 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," he 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."
Where should Canada Post officials stick their mailboxes? Join the conversation in the comments below.