Victoria residents express concerns about Canada Post changes

By Luke Simcoe, Metro News Victoria

Identity theft, litter, lonely grandparents and the loss of public space were among the concerns raised by Victoria residents about impending changes at Canada Post at a town hall meeting Monday.

Victoria MP Murray Rankin called the meeting last month, after Canada Post announced it would be phasing out door-to-door delivery within five years.

“The consultation Canada Post did was pathetic — they did it online, which is kind of ironic — so we felt we needed to have a real consultation with the community,” Rankin said.

Over 100 people came to the New Horizons Centre in James Bay to voice their thoughts on the changes, which will see mail delivered to community mailboxes rather than individual homes.

“There are lots of places in Canada where there are community mailboxes. That’s not new,” Rankin said. “But the retrofitting of existing communities raises real issues.

“How exactly do you retrofit a community mailbox in a tight little community like James Bay?” the NDP MP asked. “Who’s going to pay for it… will it impact on a park? What about crime?”

According to Rankin, community mailboxes are appealing targets to thieves looking for credit card details or other personal information. One attendee Monday claimed a mailbox in Metchosin was broken into 21 times last year, he said.

Others had concerns about family members who wouldn’t be able to get to the boxes easily.

“One young participant was worried she might lose contact with her 90-year-old grandfather, whom she communicates with by mail,” Rankin said.

Rankin has prepared a draft report listing his constituent’s concerns, and plans to present it to federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra.

“They say that no one will be affected by the changes, but we heard loud and clear on Monday that people will be affected,” he said.

Rankin extended an invitation to Canada Post to attend the meeting, but they did not send a representative.