Security, access for community mail boxes a concern

Canada Post plans to phase out home delivery and switch to community mail boxes. But some are concerned about security. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Canada Post plans to phase out home delivery and switch to community mail boxes. But some are concerned about security.

Questions are being raised about Canada Post's ability to provide accessible, affordable and secure mail delivery in the wake of announcements of an end to home mail delivery and increasing stamp prices.

Leading the charge is Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, who says security remains the number one issue for community mail boxes, although he believes it was inevitable that home mail delivery would be eliminated.

On Wednesday, Canada Post revealed a five-year plan that would establish community mail boxes for the one third of Canadian households that still get mailed delivered to their homes and hikes to stamp prices of between 85 cents and $1.

Stewart said it make sense to end what he called two-tiered mail services but he is not assured Canada Post has a good plan to prevent mail theft. While he acknowledged that the majority of Coquitlam residents already use community mail boxes, some have experienced mail theft.

Earlier this year, for example, community mail boxes in Westwood Plateau were broken into and Canada Post has installed newer ones on a trial basis to see if they can withstand a break-in. It's too early to say whether they are a success.

Stewart has called for video surveillance or an alarm system of community mail boxes.


He is also critical of the $200 fee Canada Post planned to charge new home construction, noting that Coquitlam has refused to collect the fee.

"They have the legal authority to charge for one, it's disgustingly inequitable," Stewart said.

There may be lawsuits, he said, if the fee continues to be charged on new homes but not for community mail boxes in older neighbourhoods, and Stewart is also concerned that seniors and people with disabilities will have trouble getting their mail if it's not delivered to their door.

Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew, who agrees security can be an issue, is philosophical about the need to end home delivery for Canada Post to remain solvent with the decline in letter mail.

"Home delivery people really been subsidized by the other two thirds of the Canadian public in terms of the cost of the system," Drew said.

Meanwhile, the hike in postage is a concern for Share Family and Community Services' executive director, Martin Wyant, who said low-income families can't afford the 30% price increase for stamps. He's also concerned about the cost to small businesses and charitable organizations that still use the mail system.

"It's the latest in a number of significant increases we're all going to have to think about," Wyant said.

Canada Post could not provide The Tri-City News with a breakdown of how many homes will be affected by the change in the Tri-Cities nor does it have a timeline for implementation here.

To read recent Twitter comments on this topic, visit here.

– with files from Jeff Nagel


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