Canada Post told Sarnia last week that door-to-door mail delivery is an expensive luxury that must be reabsorbed into the Collective and replaced with community mailboxes a.s.a.p.
WE ARE THE POST
YOUR SERVICE WILL BE ASSIMILATED
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
Speaking at city hall, the delegation from the Crown Corporation told flummoxed city councillors that, essentially, the city might as well lower its shields and surrender now.
When Mayor Mike Bradley pressed for an explanation as to why Canada Post won’t be holding community consultation meetings, Andrew Paterson, its manager of municipal engagement, offered a corporate shrug.
“The decision has been made to do this,” he replied.
Revenue has fallen in recent years as more Canadians use electronic mail, so the post office is pinning its future on the less lucrative but growing parcel service. Which, of course, makes sense.
But there’s a troubling disconnect between the cost-cutting corporation – which is actually projecting a $200-million surplus this year – and the people it was created to serve.
Canada Post likes to say that two-thirds of the mail is already delivered to community boxes, apartment lock boxes and rural route. The implication being the one-third who gets door-to-door delivery are a pampered minority that need to get with the times.
Of course community boxes are the norm in new subdivisions and rapidly growing urban centres. But most Sarnians lives in older homes in high-density neighbourhoods that weren’t planned to accommodate a mail centre accessed by up to 48 people.
The conversion will almost certainly be acrimonious and unpleasant. But worry not, Paterson said, Canada Post will provide a toll-free number to call if you have problems.
Sarnia has a disproportionately high number of older citizens with infirmities and disabilities. And the snow that clogged Sarnia’s existing community boxes this past winter sometimes went uncleared, noted Coun. Anne Marie Gillis.
People couldn’t get to their mail and some who tried fell and were injured, she said, so the city went ahead and plowed the snow for Canada Post.
“We haven’t sent you a bill, and we probably should have,” she told Paterson, adding, “If anything I think it’s going to get worse.”
Exactly when Sarnia’s door-to-door delivery will disappear isn’t known. But Canada Post will search for community box locations that have an existing sidewalk, privacy fencing, street lighting and wheelchair accessibility.
Paterson said “alternative approaches” will be offered to the frail, elderly and the disabled.
That could include getting a larger key, or, in extreme cases, having their mail delivered up to one day a week, he said.
“We recognize this is a change and we need to help people through that change.”
Canada Post was created in 1867 and lives by the motto: “From anywhere … to anyone.”
For Sarnians, that will soon change to: From anywhere … to somewhere near you.”