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This article was published 20/10/2014 (2436 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Mail delivery in Winnipeg has officially been boxed up today.
Approximately 12,400 homes and business in the Maples, Garden City, West Kildonan and Margaret Park areas of the city will have to walk, run or drive to community mailboxes to retrieve their mail, as Canada Post continues to phase out door-to-door delivery.
Winnipeg residents with postal codes beginning in R2P and R2V are the first to have to gather their mail at the community boxes.
As expected, reaction to the change today has been lukewarm. Some didn't mind having to take a little walk to collect flyers and bills, while others were worried about how the new system will work in a month or two.
"It's okay, I guess, but it's not that easy for us - we are all busy," offered Leonora Lipato, who snuck out of her Mankato Crescent home wearing only pajamas to see if there was any mail in the Adsum Drive mailbox.
"What happens in winter? There's going to be piles of snow around here. It's going to be difficult to get the mail. People will drive up to this and then what - climb over a (snow) bank?
"But what can you do? It will be fine."
And on Monday the federal government denied playing any role in decisions which led to the outsourcing of the manufacturing of the new community mailboxes to an American firm.
The Free Press reported Saturday Canada Post had contracted Florence Manufacturing in Manhattan, Kan., to produce at least the first wave of the new boxes.
Hundreds of them were purchased and installed in 11 communities nationwide this fall, in preparation for today’s changeover.
About 400 alone were installed in Winnipeg.
As Canada Post moved to eliminate door to door delivery in Canada, it issued a Request for Information seeking options for what mailboxes to install. From that it chose the U.S. Postal Service’s cluster box, which Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said fit 80 per cent of the mail currently delivered in Canada.
Only three companies, all in the United States, are licensed to manufacture that box, and the tender issued for the contract was directed at just those three companies. It meant no Canadian companies had the chance to bid, including Rousseau Metal, a Quebec manufacturer which produced community mailboxes for Canada Post previously.
Winnipeg Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux today asked in question period why that was.
"Canadians know that it is this Prime Minister and this Conservative government that led the charge to get rid of door-to-door delivery," Lamoureux said. "To make matters even worse, we now have the government saying that Canadian companies are not even allowed to participate in the replacement of those community mailboxes. The question is, why is the government not allowing Canadian companies to participate in the tendering process?"
Jeff Watson, parliamentary secretary to Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, told the House of Commons the government had nothing to do with implementing Canada Post’s restructuring plan, which includes eliminating door to door delivery over the next five years.
"Canada Post operates at arms length from the government in how it executes that plan," Watson said.
Watson said Canada Post must make major changes to stay afloat in the face of major changes. Since 2007, the amount of letter mail delivered in Canada has declined by more than one billion pieces annually, while parcel deliveries have soared.
Canada Post says the next Winnipeg postal codes to lose home delivery will be R2R and R2X. Those changes are expected to arrive in early 2015.