Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mailbox sites anger residents

Homeowners upset as locations are revealed

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John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
Glen Michalchuk on Hartford Avenue is against the community mailboxes and doesn�t believe they will save money.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press Glen Michalchuk on Hartford Avenue is against the community mailboxes and doesn�t believe they will save money. Photo Store

Rolling out new community mailboxes in Winnipeg's older neighbourhoods has caused some serious cases of Nimbyism -- not to mention Nimfyism (not in my front yard) and Nimsyism (not in my side yard).

In what could be one of the last envelopes delivered directly to your doorsteps, Canada Post has begun mailing letters confirming the locations of the new community mailboxes that will be installed this fall.

Residents from the Maples, Garden City and West Kildonan were among the first to receive the letters this week, which reveal the locations of approximately 400 community mailboxes.

Each letter contains a nine-digit access code that can be plugged into Canada Post's website to reveal the exact location of an address's new community mailbox. Each access code only reveals a single community mailbox, which doesn't give residents much perspective as to where the other community mailboxes will be erected.

Mark Rigby got a letter in the mail alerting him to a community mailbox that will be popping up on the boulevard beside his home on St. Anthony Avenue in West Kildonan. He considers himself a private person and is not excited about the new public meeting spot that will lie beside his lawn.

Rigby's property is surrounded by a fence that's just over a metre high, meaning he will have an ample view of his new community mailbox from a seat in his backyard.

"I sit here and the neighbours walk by and I get tired of waving. It's rude not to wave, so I literally go and I hide here," he said, motioning to his garage entrance. "When I heard (about the mailbox), I was ready to move."

Rigby suggested Canada Post compensate him for putting the mailbox so close to his yard -- that way he can build a two-metre fence between his property and the box.

If that doesn't pan out, Rigby has another get-rich-quick scheme up his sleeve. "I'm going to sell hotdogs in my driveway... and I'll get some patio lights, so you can eat at home or eat here," he joked.

A man living one street over from Rigby on Perth Avenue is also angry a mailbox will be installed in his side yard. He asked not to have his name published for privacy reasons.

"Nobody wants them to stop door-to-door service," he said. "There's not a lot I can do about it... but I can back my Oldsmobile up to it and rip it right out of the boulevard if I wanted."

Glen Michalchuk, who lives one more street over on Hartford Avenue, has covered his home and lawn with "Save door-to-door" and "We love Canada Post" signs. In May, he spoke at a town hall meeting at Maples Collegiate hoping to save waning home-delivery service.

"It's a service that residents in an area like this should have and continue to have and I don't believe the story of Canada Post saying this will save money," Michalchuk said.

"I think it's bad for people who aren't really able to have a lot of mobility. I just think it's all around unnecessary and unfortunate."

Michalchuk didn't participate in the community survey Canada Post sent out in February, which asked residents where they would prefer to see new mailboxes in their neighbourhood. About 83 per cent of the 4,086 Winnipeg survey respondents said they wanted smaller community mailboxes in clusters closer to their homes.

"I refused to do that because that's buying in (to the idea)," Michalchuk said.

Rigby also ignored the survey.

"They're still going to do what they want to do, we have no choice. We either accept it or move," he said.

Rigby also fears the community mailbox will decrease the property value of his lot.

"All the neighbours that are in the centre of the block are going, 'Oh, you're overreacting, it'll be fine,' but they live over there. If they were having the boxes beside their property, it'd be a different story," he said.

jessica.botelho-urbanski @freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 25, 2014 B1

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