City wants to liaise with Canada Post on where new boxes should be inserted in communities

SaveCanadaPostCalgary city councillors say they have a better idea of where community mailboxes should be placed throughout the city compared to an organization headquartered in Ottawa.

Council voted at its May 12 meeting to work with Canada Post to help determine where community mailboxes will be placed.

This decision comes in response to the reality that door-to-door mail delivery will be suspended in four Calgary neighbourhoods this fall.

 City council members are worried about where these potential mailboxes will go and what significant impacts they will bring.

Falconridge, Castleridge, Erin Woods and Dover are the four Calgary communities chosen — falling under the postal codes of T3J and T2B — to test the community mailboxes. A Canada Post fact sheet states these communities were selected because other communities that already have mailboxes surround them. These surrounding communities are:

• Coventry Hills
• Saddleridge
• Taradale
• Coral Springs
• Monterey Park
• Applewood

Canada Post announced last year that it would be stopping door-to-door delivery because Canadians are mailing fewer and fewer letters. It was also decided it would be more economically viable to deliver mail to community mailboxes than delivering it to someone's personal mailbox.CommunityMailboxesCalgary will be seeing community mailboxes in fall 2014 and the communities of Falconridge, Castleridge, Erin Woods and Dover will be the first to try them out.

Photo by Paulina Liwski

Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland is concerned where the community mailboxes will go in older, established communities. He says the boxes in newer communities were designed for land obligation uses, but that is not the case in older communities.

"If it (the mailbox) was a part of someone's property, they (the property owner) would be responsible for the maintenance of it," Sutherland says.

Canada Post's mandate regarding community boxes states the boxes can be placed or relocated in any public place, including the public roadway. This also goes for any receptacle or device that is used for the collection, delivery or storage of mail.

Ward 3 Coun. Jim Stevenson also expressed his concerns about the placement of community boxes.

He states if Canada Post has the power to put the boxes anywhere they like on city property, then it would become a real big problem.

"That they (Canada Post) can't put it on the sidewalk so they would have to put it beside the sidewall," says Stevenson. "Therefore, it would be in the right-of-way on somebody's property and I think would create a lot of concerns."

Stevenson adds that in his neighbourhood, many community mailboxes have been placed on property owned by the community association so that they aren't placed directly in front of a person's home.

While councillors are worried about the placement of community mailboxes, the reality is that rural communities such as Airdrie and Cochrane have been using them for a long time.

The city will also work to prioritize year-round accessibility for seniors and persons with disabilities.

Sutherland says he has received numerous calls from seniors on this issue.

They have been asking "where they (the mailboxes) will be placed and how far away the boxes will be for people who don't drive and etc."

Affected neighbourhood residents are not the only people opposed to the community mailboxes.

RickAndersonRick Anderson, a Canada Post mail carrier, is against the placement of community mailboxes in Calgary, especially in Falconridge, the neighbourhood where he delivers mail.

Photo by Paulina Liwski
"Community mailboxes are a form of postal transformation and by placing them in certain communities, it makes their work as a mail carrier harder," says Rick Anderson, a mail carrier in Calgary.

"It doesn't make sense that other countries (like Germany and Japan) are increasing their postal services while Canada is winding its down."

Robert Scobel, the organizing officer of the Canadian Postal Workers Calgary Local, shares the same view as Anderson.

He states the union is concerned that Canada Post decided to go ahead with a new method of delivery to Canadians but without, he claims, any consultation.

"Before Canada's post office starts changing in such a dramatic fashion, Canadians have a right to have their say in what kind of post office Canada Post becomes," Scobel says.

Ward 11 Coun. Brian Pincott is adamant the City of Calgary needs to be involved with Canada Post to figure out where the community boxes will go and that they are doing community consultations the way the city would do.

Pincott says Canada Post "needs to do consultations on the ground in Calgary, in the neighbourhoods."

Pincott adds the decision cannot be made "in Ottawa, with the minister of public works who may have or may not have heard of Canada Post, or Calgary for that matter."

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