Some West Shore residents will be able to sleep a little better this week knowing that community mailboxes will not spring up in their neighbourhoods anytime soon.
Canada Post has announced it is freezing plans to end door-to-door mail delivery and switch to community mailboxes for hundreds of thousands of households across the country, a reprieve that includes the West Shore.
“I’m absolutely delighted to hear the news,” said Colwood resident Dar Churcher. “I didn’t anticipate it to be this soon.”
Churcher, like many West Shore residents, has been voicing her concerns about the transition to community style mailboxes.
Her biggest beef is the safety of the potential location of the box designated for her area. A notification she received from Canada Post stated that the 48-compartment mailbox would be installed on the gravel shoulder of her property on Bunker Road. But along that side of her property she has a hedge and a number of trees that obstruct sight lines, making for what she calls “a blind corner.” She’s concerned that with the speed vehicles travel along Wishart Road, and the number of cars that could be parked just out of view in front of the intended mailbox, it could be a disaster waiting to happen.
“The safety factor wasn’t taken into consideration,” she said.
Churcher has been using a wheelchair for 17 years and until recently couldn’t even walk to the side of her property. While she is more mobile of late, she admits she still has her bad days and requires the use of her wheelchair to get into her home. She’s concerned that if the proposed community box goes up in its planned spot, it will restrict her access to her property.
She also noted people driving to access the box will have nowhere to turn around and would likely be driving onto private property.
On Monday the Crown corporation announced it is “temporarily suspending” the deployment, pending discussions with the incoming Liberal government on how “to determine the best path forward given the ongoing challenges faced by the Canadian postal system.”
The Liberals ran on a promise to study and potentially reverse the shift away from home delivery.
“It’s a golden opportunity for the Liberals to carry favour with the electorate,” Churcher said. “It gives me hope.”
But she will take the suspension as “a temporary win with the hope that it will be a permanent win.”
Canada Post said 460,000 addresses across the country are in the process of being converted to community mail boxes and all conversions scheduled for November, December or 2016 will be put on hold.
“Customers impacted by this decision will receive a letter within the next few weeks advising them of the status of their mail delivery service,” Canada Post said in a news release.
“In neighbourhoods where the 10-month internal and community conversion process is complete, customers will collect mail and parcels at their community mailbox. This includes customers set to begin receiving their mail and parcels in their boxes in October. We remain focused on maintaining reliable postal service to all Canadians without disruption.”
Community mailboxes have been the target of criminals across the West Shore, with residents in many neighbourhoods voicing concerns their mail is too vulnerable to theft. The conversion has also been fought by the union representing postal employees.
–– with files from Jeff Nagel