Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Super-mailbox plan panned

Some residents riled by proposed locations

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TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Canada Post has identified locations for the first wave of new community boxes in Winnipeg and is already drawing flak from those who have seen the not-yet-officially-released list.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says there are more than 400 proposed locations in the city's northwest for the new system that will eventually replace home delivery.

The Free Press has obtained a copy of the list and has mapped those locations through  neighbourhoods including the Maples, Garden City, and West Kildonan.

A spokesman for Canada Post said the list of addresses isn't a final one, and there will be revisions following consultations.

About two weeks ago, Canada Post employees began door-knocking in Winnipeg's older neighbourhoods, alerting homeowners as to where they say the super mailboxes will be located.

Susan Green, who lives on Daffodil Street, never received a courtesy knock and wishes she had.

Instead, she found out from a neighbour on Teakwood Avenue about the tentative plans to build a mailbox at the park next door to her home.

"I haven't heard a hell of a lot, and that's what's making me mad," said Green, whose yard borders a public park dubbed the Teakwood Tot Lot.

'I haven't heard a hell of a lot, and that's what's making me mad'

-- Susan Green, who lives on Daffodil Street

The mailbox would be located in front of the park at a bend in the road between Daffodil and Teakwood, a location Green said is already a nuisance for traffic.

"I'm concerned it's a family-oriented area, and I know kids play in the park and everything like that -- the traffic will increase at the park. People won't walk to get their mail, they will drive to get their mail... it's going to be congested," said Green, who also heard the mailbox will be popping up in September.

Jon Hamilton, a spokesman for Canada Post, said changes are coming.

"It's not a final list," Hamilton said. "We're in the process now of talking to people and making changes based on concerns that are raised."

"What we're doing now is putting together site locations that meet our criteria after we surveyed the neighbourhoods."

Ben Zorn, president of the prairie region of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, expects to hear more from Winnipeg residents as they discover where the mailboxes will be placed. "These people haven't all been reached out to yet or communicated with," said Zorn. "Of course people are going to be upset and they should be, because we as Canadians are shareholders in this Crown entity."

"We live in an era where people demand greater levels of service for lower prices, and Canada Post is engaging in a process where they're decreasing the level of service they provide and increasing the price."

Zorn wishes Canada Post would stick to home-delivery service in older neighbourhoods like West Kildonan and the Maples.

"In the newer neighbourhoods that are built with these community mailboxes in mind, carry on. In older neighbourhoods, let's continue providing excellent customer service to the door," he said.

To make up for potential financial shortfalls, Zorn suggested Canada Post pursue new revenue streams across the country. He offered two revenue-building solutions: same-day package delivery service, which already exists in the greater Toronto area; and postal banking, which would provide financial services to people who don't have bank accounts.

"As an organization, it should diversify... Let's get creative and find solutions rather than hack and slash at this Crown corporation."

A concerned resident on Rupertsland Avenue, who asked to remain anonymous, said she wished Canada Post had consulted homeowners before proposing community mailbox locations near their lawns.

She got a knock on her door about two weeks ago letting her know a mailbox would be popping up this fall on a boulevard near her backyard.

"I said, 'No, I don't want it there,' and they pretty much said to me that 'You have no choice.' "

The woman asked why Canada Post was putting the mailboxes on residential streets like hers rather than on busier bus routes.

The Canada Post employees told her they didn't want to further clog up bus routes with more traffic and stopping cars.

"I'm living on a corner lot where there will be 45 boxes and 45 people stopping their cars to get their mail," she said.

Hamilton said surveys of Winnipeg neighbourhoods found 85 per cent of locals want smaller locations for the community mailboxes, in areas close to their own homes.

"The boxes have to go somewhere," he said.

"Without change, the postal service would become a drain on the taxpayers of Canada, and we have to make a change."

Hamilton said Canada Post employees are going out to knock on people's doors. They want to ensure locals are aware of where their super mailboxes might be headed.

"We're trying to be as respectful as possible, but we know that if we don't change, the losses are going to continue to mount and we'll be in serious financial trouble."

jessica.botelho-urbanski@freepress.mb.ca

Preliminary locations for community mailboxes

The map below depicts the tentative locations for community mailbox locations in parts of Winnipeg with postal codes starting with R2V and R2P. The map is based on information provided by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, which compiled the locations based on documents shared by Canada Post to determine letter-carrier routes. Address indicators are approximate; click on any marker for detailed information on the box location.

Can't see the map above? Try viewing it in a new window.

Map by Inayat Singh.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 11, 2014 B1

History

Updated on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 8:13 PM CDT: Corrects location references.

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