Town hall will address mail delivery

by  Christine van Reeuwyk - Oak Bay News

Canada Post could get an earful after Victoria MP Murray Rankin hosts a town hall meeting in Oak Bay to air concerns over the end to home mail delivery and the impacts on Oak Bay.

Rankin invited Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen to “talk about some of the concerns a small community has and challenges they face.”

Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto is also slated to attend and speak to the municipality she represents, particularly in the V9A area code where community mailboxes are already being phased in.

“That is the first part of the community that gets treated to these community mailboxes,” Rankin said.

Just more than a week after the announcement 18 months ago, Rankin started hearing from constituents. The first town hall was held in January 2014 and also featured municipal leaders from around the region.

“I wanted to hear what the folks were saying,” Rankin said.

The concerns were varied, and really haven’t changed from community to community.

“There’s the traffic, people idling their car in front of these community mailboxes, the pollution, the noise, the lighting surprisingly … vandalism, litter, theft of personal information and, of course, seniors,” Rankin said. “People who are in wheelchairs or on crutches on a rainy night having to go get their mail, it’s going to be very, very difficult.”

He’s sent questions and information to Canada Post in the past, but feels those questions haven’t been answered, and the project only continues to move ahead.

“Canada Post under the law has the ability to put these where they want. They consult out of the goodness of their heart and they don’t, in my opinion, do a very good job of it,” Rankin said, adding the NDP is committed to returning home delivery to those who would lose it under this plan.

“Here in Oak Bay, when you have established neighbourhoods, where are you going to put these things? To retrofit a neighbourhood with these community mailboxes is going to be a disaster,” Rankin said. “So I want to hear from people, and hear what specifically it will mean to Oak Bay.”

The concerns voiced by Rankin are echoed by Oak Bay residents, says Jensen.

“I’ve heard concerns expressed by residents of what effect these super mailboxes have in our established neighbourhoods in terms of esthetics, our streetscape and also litter,” he said.

Neither politician has heard word on where the boxes would be placed or even when implementation could start in Oak Bay.

“It really is a concern that to date Canada Post has had no contact with us in order to discuss how these super mailboxes, if they come to Oak Bay, where are they going to be, how are they going to be placed?” Jensen said. “We’ve been left completely in the dark. It’s a matter of good neighbourliness. To date, because we haven’t heard from them, unfortunately you have to conclude that they don’t care about our views.”

Rankin plans to send a synopsis to Canada Post after the meeting which is scheduled for Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Oak Bay United Church, 1355 Mitchell St.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com