Councillors stamp their foot down, like to give Canada Post a licking

Some members of council are charging that Canada Post is not living up to its promise to consult with unhappy residents

Campbell River city council is again taking issue with Canada Post.

Some members of council are charging that Canada Post is not living up to its promise to consult with unhappy residents.

Coun. Larry Samson said at last week’s Tuesday council meeting that while Canada Post has been working with the city, it’s a different story when it comes to the public.

“While Canada Post has been fairly open when the city has some concerns such as putting community mailboxes along our waterfront on Highway 19A, our citizens are struggling in dealing with the large corporation out of Vancouver,” Samson said. “So I think it’s important that we as a city stick together and if some of our citizens are having difficulties, problems or concerns with the mailboxes that they can send their concerns to us and we can take them to Canada Post.”

Samson put forward a motion that council write a letter to Canada Post’s board of directors, with copies to Canada Post’s president and chief executive officer, the federal minister responsible for Canada Post, and North Island MP John Duncan, to strongly outline the city’s concerns with the lack of community consideration in the siting of community mailboxes. The motion, which was approved by council, also dictates that the letter convey that the city requests Canada Post engage in meaningful consultation with the city and its residents regarding all proposed locations.

“Right now, in talking to certain citizens, they keep getting the word consultation but it doesn’t seem to be taken seriously,” Samson said. “I think this is one way to say we want them to listen to our citizens – they do have some legitimate concerns – and when we say consultation, we mean meaningful consultation.”

Canada Post has already sent out letters to residents in most neighbourhoods informing citizens where their new community mailbox will be located come September when Canada Post phases out home delivery to all homes in Campbell River.

Anick Losier, spokesperson for Canada Post, said in April that Canada Post went door-to-door to homes adjacent to a proposed postal box site and there are avenues to register any complaints.

“Should a home owner disagree, there is an escalation process. If he/she makes a suggestion to an alternate location, we have made it our responsibility to investigate any and all suggestions,” Losier said. “Ultimately, we are seeking to find the best, most accessible, centralized location for the people the equipment will serve.”

Ron Neufeld, the city’s operations manager, said while he couldn’t speak for the residents who have had complaints, Canada Post has been accessible in its dealings with the city.

“City staff have been involved fairly extensively in reviewing sites Canada Post has put forward,” Neufeld said. “Today we’ve seen 300 sites put forward for our community and city staff have been reviewing them from a technical perspective – do they create environmental concerns, traffic concerns, or utility issues. We’ve only begun to get responses from Canada Post, we’re somewhere in the middle of the process and we have yet to see how responsive they will be to the issues we’ve identified.”

Canada Post’s efforts to convert 8,543 Campbell River households who still receive home delivery to community mailboxes is part of the corporation’s larger plan to completely phase out door-to-door delivery across the entire country. The corporation maintains that home delivery is no longer financially sustainable as Canadians are mailing fewer pieces of mail than ever before.

The corporation lost $125 million in 2013 but made a profit of $194 million in 2014. The corporation cited an increase in parcels shipped, higher stamp prices and reduced employee benefit costs for its financial success last year.

While the amount of parcels shipped increased, Canada Post delivered 214 million fewer pieces of regular mail than in 2013.