Hamilton City Council calls mail boxes: “inconvenient and inaccessible, especially for seniors and persons with mobility issues.”

Sep 04, 2014 

Councillors don’t want Canada Post’s ‘superboxes’

Hamilton Spectator

By David Churchill

City council won’t put its stamp of approval on Canada Post’s plan to expand the use of community mailboxes across the city.

Councillors Thursday approved a motion which called the community mailboxes “inconvenient and inaccessible, especially for seniors and persons with mobility issues.”

The motion, moved by councillor Terry Whitehead, also raised councillors’ concerns about break-ins and theft at the boxes.

Canada Post plans to convert more than 36,000 homes across the Mountain and Stoney Creek from home delivery to the “superboxes” later this year.

The plan didn’t sit well with city councillors, who argue the federal postal service’s cost-cutting measure will create hardship for their constituents. About 50 other municipalities have taken similar stances opposing the move.

Whitehead called the plan “short-sighted thinking” and said he had sympathy for seniors in the city’s older neighbourhoods.

“Many of these people bought their homes knowing they had home delivery,” he said.

Councillor Brian McHattie said “in many ways Canada was built on a strong postal service” and expressed concern about the economic impact of job losses on Hamilton.

“We are trying to create jobs — not lose them,” he said.

While the city has no say in how Canada Post operates, in this case it does have a say in where the boxes will be located. Councillors asked staff to report back to the General Issues Committee on what options the city has to either prevent or regulate where the boxes can go.

Terry Langley, acting president of the local Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said Canada Post has only lost money once in the past decade and that was during a year when postal workers were locked out in 2011.

“(Canadians) deserve better from the post office,” Langley said. “They deserve better from the post office they own.”

Councillor Tom Jackson agreed, saying he didn’t understand the need for Canada Post to make a profit. He also hoped there would be an “outcry” against the plan during the next federal election campaign.

The postal codes targeted for the first phase of the shift in service are those beginning with L8J, L8T, L8V, L8W, L9A and L9C. Other areas of Hamilton and across Canada will see the change within the next five years, Canada Post has said.

About 76,000 households built in Hamilton since the 1980s already use the neighbourhood mailboxes.

dchurchill@torstar.net

905-526-2460

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