Sunday, March 8, 2015

New mailboxes poor fit for older neighbourhoods (Letter in London Free Press, March 7, 2015)

New mailboxes poor fit for older neighbourhoods (London Free Press, March 7, 2015).

In light of the Canada Post proposal to end door-to-door delivery in established neighbourhoods, much has been made of the community mailboxes that have been installed in new construction developments during the past 30 years.
That there have been no complaints about these mailboxes should come as no surprise: the choice to take on a community mailbox was part of the property package. If walking to a mailbox to get your mail was enough of a deterrent, you would not consider purchasing or renting a home in a new neighbourhood.
In addition, community mailboxes in new developments were not to impinge on the property rights of individual home buyers. Clearly Canada Post sees these new homeowners as wealthy because they’ve been in a struggle with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association since 2013 to impose a $200 surcharge per household on all new community mailboxes that are installed.
(Image from London Free Press, March 7, 2015)

The Canada Post decision to retrofit established neighbourhoods with community mailboxes threatens to turn residents of older neighbourhoods into the poor cousins of postal delivery. Residents who did not intend to choose community mailboxes no longer have an alternative, and neighbourhoods that were never designed to accommodate community mailboxes are being forced to accept their placement on the city easement portion of private property.
To insist that all will go well on the basis of past experience with new housing developments is to compare apples to oranges.
At the very least, let’s abandon the claim that based on past experience community mailboxes are problem free. This latest incarnation of self-serve mail is new territory for Canada Post and the potential for serious problems with mail delivery is obvious.
Jan Pennycook


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