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.