Mayors, MP call for delay in community mailboxes

by   Kevin Laird - Victoria News

Victoria MP Murray Rankin and the mayors of Victoria and Oak Bay are calling on Canada Post to halt the planned elimination of home mail delivery to 18,000 households in the capital region next year.

Local politicians want more public consultation and assurances that municipalities won’t be forced to foot the bill for new infrastructure.

Residents in the affected areas will have to get mail from their local community mailboxes.

Homeowners were sent information on the conversion last month.

Canada Post said Canadians mailed almost 1.2 billion fewer pieces of mail  in 2013 than they did in 2006.

The level of consultation has been disappointing, said politicians.

“Open consultation should have been the start of this process, not the end,” said Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin,

“My priority now is ensuring that residents aren’t stuck with the bill for Canada Post’s plan. We have real concerns about infrastructure costs like new lights or sidewalks for accessibility. I can’t support this process moving ahead without clear assurances that the costs will not be off loaded onto municipal budgets.”

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said many residents share his concerns about the impact of mass mailboxes on older, established neighbourhoods.

“We work very hard to preserve the streetscapes in neighbourhoods and our villages,” Jensen said.

“We work to maintain the character of these areas. We don’t want huge boxes blighting our boulevards. We don’t want traffic jams or parking issues. If Canada Post goes ahead without listening to residents or council, it’s not going to work for Oak Bay.”

Rankin, who last month called for “more serious” public consultation on the move to community mailboxes, said  the only responsible option is to shelve the plan until questions of cost and accessibility are answered.

The addresses affected by the changes include postal codes starting with V9A, V9B and V9C.

This includes Victoria, Colwood, Saanich, Esquimalt, View Royal and Songhees First Nation.

Read more here: http://www.vicnews.com/news/282728581.html