Canada Post must address concerns

Switch away from home delivery needs to avoid undue disruption

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night can keep a mail carrier from completing their rounds, to paraphrase the age-old motto of the U.S. Postal Service. But dwindling revenues and a government looking for areas to cut could see door-to-door delivery go the way of the stage coach that used to transport the mail.

Local politicians, however, aren’t quite so keen on the changes planned for Canada Post, with door-to-door delivery expected to be phased out over the next five years.

While no postal codes in Oak Bay have been slated for changeover yet, a total of 18,008 addresses in Victoria, Langford, Colwood, Esquimalt, View Royal and Songhees are to be converted by next fall.

Those proposed changes have prompted Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen and Victoria MP Murray Rankin to speak out against the elimination of home delivery and ask questions in regards to the holes that litter the Canada Post plan.

Rankin was stunned to  see Canada Post move ahead before answering questions about cost, safety and accessibility.

“We work very hard to preserve the streetscapes in neighbourhoods and our villages,” said Jensen. “We work to maintain the character of these areas. We don’t want huge boxes blighting our boulevards. We don’t want traffic jams or parking issues.”

With mail volumes continuing their steady decline, it’s easy to see the lure of community mailboxes. The community mailboxes certainly make sense for highrise developments and tightly packed homes in a city core, and would significantly reduce costs for the financially stretched Crown corporation in sparsely populated rural areas.

But Canada Post must consult with communities to avoid massive disruption being caused by the implementation of community delivery, and Ottawa certainly can’t expect to offset costs onto municipalities for a program aimed to boost federal coffers.

The advent of electronic communication has greatly diminished Canadians’ reliance on mail delivery. But that doesn’t mean changes to the mail system should leave Canadians out in the cold.