St. John’s man wants answers from Canada Post

Dave Bartlett
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Has concerns over possibility of temporary mailboxes

Canada Post has announced it may start installing temporary community mailboxes to make it easier for letter carriers fighting winter weather. They may be similar to this unit in C.B.S. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

A St. John’s man has a number of concerns after Canada Post notified him about possibly suspending door-to-door mail delivery to his address this winter.

Stephen Walters lives on Newfoundland Drive.

His home was one of 387 in the city to get letters from Canada Post between Christmas and New Year’s informing him that — should conditions on his street become too dangerous this winter because of a lack of snowclearing — the corporation would install temporary community mailboxes and suspend door-to-door mail service.

One of Walters’ concerns was raised by St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe at the city’s council meeting earlier this week.

O’Keefe suggested this is a trial balloon from Canada Post which will eventually lead to the Crown corporation downgrading service in some areas.

Walters said she feels if people get used to community mailboxes, Canada Post will use that as an excuse to make the mailboxes permanent.

“Canada Post is going to spend a few dollars installing these community mailboxes. They’re not cheap to install,” he said.

“I do respect Canada Post’s responsibility for the health and safety of its employees,” Walters continued, “but the employee also understands the hazards of the job and has the right, if I’m not mistaken, under the (province’s Occupational) Health and Safety Act, to refuse anything that’s unsafe.”

Because carriers can walk past areas that are impassible, he feels there are already sufficient guidelines in place.

Walters also points out the city clears the sidewalks on his street because it’s a main route and is close to a school, so he wonders why his street is even being considered for community mailboxes.

He said the many cul-de-sacs in his area are last to be plowed and never get their sidewalks done, but as far as he knows no one on those streets got letters.

But there’s another worry for Walters.

He lives next to a small piece of vacant, city-owned land and he’s worried the community mailboxes will be installed next to his driveway, which could lead to a traffic jam in front of his home when people go to check their mail.

Walters also wonders what will happen to flyers and junk mail in the mailboxes and whether they’ll be dumped on the ground and end up on his property.

He called the 1-800 number on the letter to express his concerns and reached a customer service call centre. While he said the person on the phone was courteous, she couldn’t answer his questions about why he got the letter.

Walters asked to be contacted by someone who could answer his questions and was still waiting for a call when he spoke to The Telegram.

He suggested Canada Post should have held a public meeting to answer people’s questions.

Canada Post spokeswoman Denise Corra said the corporation had nothing more to add, but repeated that it’s a safety issue. She said she would contact Walters.

Organizations: Canada Post

Geographic location: Newfoundland Drive

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Recent comments

  • Good For Canada Post
    January 06, 2012 - 09:53

    Go for it Canada Post! It might speed up delivery in my door-to-door neighbourhood cause the mailman does not have to wander the streets in the super-mailbox neighbourhood! But, I won't hold my breath.

  • McLovin
    January 06, 2012 - 08:31

    If Canada Post wants to downgrade their service to save money then that should be their perogative. All anyone does in this province is complain and whine. There are many communities out there who utilize community mailboxes and get their mail just fine. Traffic and Garbage? Give me a break, the walk to the mailbox wont kill you!!

  • Calvin
    January 06, 2012 - 08:19

    Are you kidding me? This is what passes for news these days? Cry me a river, half of the city works on the mailbox system already and it works fine. Walters is way off suggesting that workers can refuse to do the work if it is too dangerous. Not because they are not allowed to, they are entitled to refuse to work in unsafe conditions , but will there be another story in the Telegram in a few months when Walters is not getting her mail at all because Canada Post employees refuse to walk down her street? Airport Heights is chocked full of mail boxes, and I have yet to see a traffic jam caused by them. This is one of the most pointless stories I have ever read. Unless you are confined to a wheelchair, get over it.

  • NJ
    January 06, 2012 - 08:00

    Aren't there worse things to worry about? I have to get my mail at a community mailbox, and I don't see any issues. The weekly flyers should be hung on in a bag on your doorknob. What's the problem? I have a community mailbox directly across the street from my house (a smaller one) and have no traffic issues. Calm down. You'll still get your mail. If you're that concerned about it, why don't you switch as much correspondence as possible to electronic format (ie. emailed bills)? WHY is there an article on this? WHY all the complaining?

  • Edward J Samson
    January 06, 2012 - 07:50

    Over the past 48 years I have lived in numerous locations across Canada. The only two locations that I recieved mail delivery at my door was for 2 yrs in Winnipeg, MB and 2 years in Medicine Hat, AB. The way I see it is that, either everybody gets "mail delivered to the door", or nobody does. Everybody pays the same rates, everybody should get the same service. Ed Samson

  • Mike
    January 06, 2012 - 07:07

    Every new area of St. John's and a lot of the older areas already have community mailboxes...we're not complaining that we don't have door-to-door mail service. I do agree on the point that Canada Post is using the sidewalk clearing issue as an excuse to eliminate the service....after all, it's been perfectly fine up until this point and we had a lot worse winters 10 or 15 years ago than we do now. I don't think that moving to a community mailbox should be a concern for anyone however, when a lot of people already have them and had no choice in the matter.