It felt like someone opened a window and let in a breath of fresh air into City Hall. At the Civic Works Committee meeting on March 3, 2015, our campaign to protect our communities against Canada Post’s unilateral cuts to door-todoor mail delivery took an important step forward. Councillors Ridley, Park and Van Holst passed a motion calling among other things for a halt to the mail service cuts while Canada Post undertakes proper consultation with targeted communities. That motion was ‘tabled’ or postponed by the full City Council on March 10, at the request of Councillor Ridley. She read a letter from a Canada Post representative committing to delay the implementations of the cuts until September to allow for fuller consultations.
This is the first time a community
movement has succeeded in slowing
down the Canada Post steamroller. This
delay is a significant victory is our fight to
keep door-to-door mail delivery. London
is one of 24 communities in Ontario currently
targeted for community mailbox
‘retrofitting’ by the end of 2015. None
of these communities has welcomed
Canada Post’s plans.
The motion drafted by Councillor
Ridley and passed by the Civic Works
Committee has not gone away – it is
simply postponed. The City of London
is in effect giving Canada Post a chance
to conduct serious public consultation
before returning to this motion. The retroactive imposition of
self-serve community mailboxes throughout the city in residential
areas that were never designed for them raises many
additional questions. The legal agreement the City has yet to
negotiate with Canada Post will also need to stipulate issues
such as the placement of recycling bins at community mailbox
locations, weekly recycling pick up, and compliance with the
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Where’s the Mayor?
The motion tabled at City Council also requested that Mayor
Matt Brown send a letter to Deepak Chopra, CEO of Canada
Post, to inform him that the City of London supports the existing
delivery system and wishes to retain this valuable service
for our community. While the motion did not come to a vote,
it is nonetheless high time our Mayor spoke about this issue on
behalf of Londoners.
What is needed now: town hall meetings
The proposed loss of door-to-door postal delivery in the City
of London has many serious implications: from traffic safety,
parking, impacts on residential home values and privacy, to
the ability of the elderly and residents with mobility challenges
to continue to receive their mail at home, security of
mail, and maintaining the community mailbox area litter and
graffiti free, as well as clear of snow and ice.
Such complex issues cannot be addressed adequately
through one-to-one chats with individual residents or property
owners, which is what Canada Post typically calls “consultation”.
Nor can the executives of neighbourhood associations
(where they exist) be expected to speak for all residents in the
areas targeted for cuts.
We must reject a piecemeal ‘divide-and-conquer’ approach
that pits us as individuals or small groups against a large
Crown Corporation, and respond instead as communities.
While over 1200 properties are directly targeted this year
(see proposed locations by postal code areas in London here: https://sites.google.com/site/ppl4door2door/got-mailbox with maps of affected areas here: http://londoners4door2door.blogspot.ca/2015/03/what-postal-code-areas-are-targeted-for.html, all Londoners deserve a meaningful voice on this
important issue affecting our communities. The best way
to achieve that is hold public town-hall meetings where everyone
can hear about the issues and have their say. Those
responsible for these proposed cuts need to be present and
held accountable. Local Members of Parliament should attend
these town-hall meetings, along with Deepak Chopra and our
Mayor. Together we can and must demand accountability and
protect our communities from these cuts.
David Heap and Sam Trosow,
Londoners for Door to Door
Originally published in Scene Magazine, March 12, 2015.