Still many issues to address with community mailboxes

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/03/2014 (3191 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

By now many of you know the R2P and R2V postal codes are scheduled to lose door-to-door mail delivery.  

Canada Post has decided to pilot community mailboxes in our mature neighbourhoods. Unlike the warm post offices of old in rural towns, Canada Post is setting up mailboxes exposed to harsh weather conditions. While seniors residences will continue receiving mail in the same fashion, there are many seniors and persons with disabilities living in their individual homes scheduled for removal of mail service.

Neighbourhoods like Jefferson, Seven Oaks, The Maples, and Garden City were never designed for community mailboxes like River Grove, Riverbend, and Amber Trails. The Canada Post Act allows this public corporation to expropriate public land for its purposes. So, they will take over spaces on boulevards, parks and maybe private property depending on what is available on a particular street.  

Canada Post has told the public they have consulted with major cities, but I can tell you they have not done an extensive, detailed consultation with cities, especially winter cities like Winnipeg. This detailed consultation would have led them to the conclusion that a large cost to property tax payers will result from implementing community mailboxes in our mature neighbourhoods. To save money, they are getting rid of employees, but they have not factored in paying cities for their extra costs.

What Are The Issues For Seniors And Persons With Disabilities?

Canada Post hasn’t even done a proper consultation to establish design standards for community mailbox units that wheelchair users, persons who are blind and seniors can use to collect their mail and parcels. Please consider -30 temperatures when seniors and persons with disabilities try to use their mailbox. Canada Post somehow thinks its new design will suffice in piloting R2P and R2V in the autumn. They presented the idea of giving seniors and persons with disabilities extra keys so someone else can collect their mail. Are children of seniors living in Oakbank, East and West St. Paul, and St. Vital going to drive all the way to Seven Oaks Avenue to collect their parent’s mail?

Winter is the biggest issue for those who are not young and physically capable.  Our residential sidewalks take quite some time to clear of snow. Wheelchair, walker, and cane users will not be able to navigate to a community mailbox. Snow wind rows are a constant problem for seniors and persons with disabilities. If you finally get to the mailbox, you will need to open the box, and take out a parcel key to get a package stored in a box below the mailboxes. Skin freezes in two to four minutes on many days in a Winnipeg winter. Seniors and persons with disabilities are also easy targets for criminals.

What Are The Extra Service Details For Cities?

All the following details will have cost effects on the City of Winnipeg and its residents:
Policing:
• Criminals can be attracted to community mailboxes to rob someone or rip off mail and parcels right from the box.
• Exposure to one’s physical and psychological abusers exists in a public gathering space.  Finding an address is hard to do, but waiting in a local area is much easier.
Snow:
• The City of Winnipeg stores snow on boulevards in mature neighbourhoods.  Taking away any space will mean either putting it in front of homes further down the block or removing it — a huge cost.  Handitransit users will need to get rid of even larger wind rows at the curb side.
• In order to clear all our residential sidewalks in a more timely fashion, there will be a need to purchase many more pieces of equipment and hire many more people or hire many more private contractors.
Parking: You cannot park at stop sign corners. Using the middle of the block will result in fighting over parking spots with immediate residents. Our winter has demonstrated that residents have nowhere to park their cars in back.
Litter:
• Junk mail will end up all around and beyond the community mailboxes.  The city does not pick up litter on our streets.  Canada Post will not be around daily to clean it up. Residential groups, business improvement zones and Take Pride will have to more than double their efforts.
• More cleaning by the City will be needed if community mail boxes are placed in parks and open spaces.  There is already budget pressure on park cleaning budgets.

To summarize, Canada Post is not going to be ready to implement community mail boxes in R2P and R2V by autumn, 2014. City council took the step to request a suspension of this pilot. You can help by calling your member of Parliament. Tell them to get community mailboxes suspended until proper details are worked out for mature neighbourhoods.

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