Montreal says no to community mailboxes
Published Wednesday, February 18, 2015 10:47AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 18, 2015 2:02PM EST
Mayor Denis Coderre wants a moratorium on community mailboxes in Montreal and says the way Canada Post plans to install them is not going to work.
Canada Post announced in Dec. 2013 it would put an end to home mail delivery, with the crown corporation blaming rising costs and falling mail volume for cutting door-to-door delivery.
Coderre said he wants more consultation with Canada Post before it sets up 50,000 community mailboxes in the city. One idea, he said, was rethinking the need for mail delivery five times a week.
Another major problem, the mayor noted, is about the number of mailboxes needed in densely populated neighbourhoods.
“It means that in Montreal you need to put up a box every 100 metres,” said Coderre Wednesday morning. “So can you imagine St. Urbain? Not only the snow is still there, but you will have a wall of China of postal boxes. It’s nonsense to say the least. So I think that we need a moratorium.”
On Tuesday evening, a city council committee urged the mayor to take a stand against Canada Post because community mailboxes would harm the disabled and the elderly.
If the committee has its way, Canada Post would be barred from installing any more community boxes in the city, making Montreal the only major city in Canada to retain home delivery.
Robert Coutu, the committee’s vice-president, says it’s a matter of principle to respect citizens’ wishes because Canada Post is not.
“Montreal is taking the leadership, saying let's stop,” said Coutu. “Let's talk and find a solution for the future for our citizens.”
Coutu said he understands the economic challenges, but said if Canada Post wants the city’s cooperation, the crown corporation will have to show more flexibility and listen to citizens’ concerns about security around mailboxes.
“We have to stop Canada Post,” added Coutu. “Some of them are already installed in Montreal and they already have big problems.”
The public consultations began late last year, and citizens, unions and associations representing the disabled and the elderly had their say.
Many worried residents said at the public consultations they want to continue getting mail through home delivery. Micheline Jourdain, a union leader for public sector workers, wants Canada Post to remember that not everyone uses the Internet to stay in touch.
“Our members who are educated, only one third of them have access to Internet,” said Jourdain. “The contact with their world, their family and children is mail.”
The city committee also wants the crown corporation to study the impact of these community boxes on property values before moving forward.
Coutu said the next order of business is getting the mayor and executive committee to send the message to Canada Post.