Their 90 minutes of work may not ultimately accomplish much, but one city committee is sending a message to Canada Post that it doesn’t support the elimination of door-to-door mail delivery.
During the Civic Works Committee meeting on March 3, Ward 10 Coun. Virginia Ridley led the charge to not simply accept Canada Post’s December 2013 planned conversion of five million addresses from door-to-door mail delivery to community mailboxes (CMBs) over the next five years.
While legislation gives Canada Post the authority to place CMBs on public land, Ridley said that doesn’t mean London shouldn’t voice the opposition of local residents.
“I think you aren’t heard unless you speak. The more cities that band together, Canada Post has to be getting a clear message,” Ridley said. “Do I think they will be responsive? I’m not sure, but I think we needed to add ourself to that list and say the people of London don’t want this.”
The motion supported 3-1 at Civic Works (and only opposed by committee chair and Ward 12 Coun. Harold Usher) — and that will go to council on Tuesday, March 10 — extends much further than previous direction to staff.
That direction called on staff to investigate how other communities are dealing with the CMB program, but also for city engineer John Braam, to write a letter to Canada Post asking the Crown Corporation to undertake an enhanced public consultation process prior to implementation of the CMB program. Braam acknowledged the letter, sent out nearly a month ago, has not yet generated a response from Canada Post.
The new motion lays out several directions, including directing Canada Post to conduct public engagement sessions with impacted communities; request local MPs to be involved in such meetings; advise Canada Post the city does not endorse its actions prior to the public engagement process being completed; and asking Mayor Matt Brown to send a letter to Deepak Chopra, Canada Post CEO, stating London supports the existing door-to-door mail delivery system.
In addition, staff is also directed to negotiate a legal agreement with Canada Post that defines obligations with respect to community mailboxes located in the London right-of-ways.
Ward 13 Coun. Tanya Park also stepped up to request the city push forward with additional requests of Canada Post.
Those points include the installation of garbage bins and weekly trash pick-up, along with all necessary snow removal and adherence to Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act regulations.
“Regular basis is too vague for me,” Park said. “I don’t want our neighbourhoods waiting on Canada Post staff to come clean up the litter that is sure to be present at these locations.”
The Civic Works Committee has had several delegations speaking in opposition to the CMBs over the course of its last two meetings. In addition, Ridley said she has personally received 46 emails also expressing opposition.
Ridley described the CMB program as “a really large retrofit project across Canada,” where last year 100,000 mailboxes were converted. In 2015, Canada Post is looking to install 41,000.
While acknowledging Canada Post has the legislative authority “to install, locate or erect mailboxes in any space they see fit,” Ridley said it's the responsibility of council to stand up for its constituents.
With Canada Post having such powers, some in the community question whether a majority of London residents are truly upset by Canada Post’s plans. Ridley believes so.
She points to being able to drive throughout the city and see Save Door-to-door signs on people’s lawns and in their windows.
“Other municipalities are taking a hard stance in regards to this issue,” Ridley said. “As much as I prefer London to be a leader, in this case I believe we need to start following the trend and let Canada Post know we aren’t interested in ending door-to-door delivery.”