Consultation needed on mail issue

Black Press' Victoria News sister paper offer thoughts on mailbox scenario

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night can keep a mail carrier from completing their rounds, to paraphrase the age-old motto of the U.S. Postal Service. But dwindling revenues and a government looking for areas to cut could see door-to-door delivery go the way of the stage coach that once transported mail.

Greater Victoria politicians, however, aren’t quite so keen on the changes planned for Canada Post, with door-to-door delivery expected to be phased out over the next five years. A total of 18,008 addresses in Victoria, Langford, Colwood, Esquimalt, View Royal and Songhees are to be converted by next fall.

These proposed changes have prompted Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and Victoria MP Murray Rankin to speak out against the elimination of home delivery and ask questions in regards to holes that litter the Canada Post plan.

Rankin was stunned to see Canada Post move ahead before answering questions about cost, safety and accessibility.

“Open consultation should have been the start of the process, not the end,” said Fortin.

With mail volumes continuing their steady decline, it’s easy to see the lure of community mailboxes. The community mailboxes certainly make sense for high-rise developments and tightly packed homes in a city core, and would significantly reduce costs for the financially stretched Crown corporation in sparsely populated rural areas.

But Canada Post must consult with communities to avoid massive disruptions being caused by the implementation of community delivery, and Ottawa certainly can’t expect to offset costs onto municipalities for a program aimed to boost federal coffers.

The advent of electronic communications has greatly diminished Canadian’s reliance on mail delivery. But that doesn’t mean changes to the mail system should leave Canadians out in the cold.

– Victoria News

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