Clr. Terry Whitehead, who has lead the charge on behalf of the city of Hamilton in its dispute with Canada Post around the installations of community mailboxes, has provided The Hamiltonian with the following letter for release:
“I have been working with Canada Post for 7 months to move a mailbox 6 feet. They agreed to move it, but today the guys are installing right where they said they would in the first place.”
That is a paraphrased comment but it is indicative of messages, emails, and conversations I and my staff have had with residents all across the mountain since Canada Post began installing mailboxes. Canada Post’s John Hamilton has been on television, radio, in newspapers, and online telling Canadians Canada Post has been consulting with communities across the country. They are telling us that in Hamilton they’ve moved 30% of locations after talking to residents. The only problem is I can’t find a single one of them!
Instead I have residents calling me asking why there is a mailbox in their new driveway after Canada Post said they wouldn’t install it there. They’re asking me why we let this happen. Residents are frustrated with this process and this “consultation” we keep hearing so much about. I and my fellow Mountain colleagues invited Canada Post to an information night in February to speak with residents and hear their concerns first hand. They refused to show up. This is why, after repeated attempts to work with Canada Post and having no luck, we asked staff to create a by-law and passed it in April.
Other municipalities are learning first-hand about this “consultation”. The town of New Market
recently wrote to Canada Post and asked them to embark on a 180 day consultation with the community and with two of their Council committees to discuss the placement of their new mailboxes. Canada Post’s reply was that they would not be doing this.
Our residents deserve better than this. In fact, all residents of all municipalities deserve better. This is why other cities across the country including Montreal, Toronto, New Market, as well as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities have reached out to Hamilton to offer support.
All pre-existing super mailboxes that have been installed in new subdivisions have been part of the site plans that developers brought forth to the city for approval. These locations were carefully reviewed by staff and approved. This cost was paid for by the developer. Next our Planning committee reviews these and ultimately Council. Canada Post allowed those mailboxes to be put in through a process but they want to deny that same level of oversight to these new boxes. They want to cram boxes into locations that have no lighting, sidewalks, or daylight corners. They’re dropping boxes directly beside (or inside) people’s driveways blocking their sightlines for when they enter or exit their driveway. They are even placing these on four lane arterial roads with no regards for the safety of residents or for the postal workers who will have to load these boxes going forward.
The fundamental question is who should have the final say about where things are installed on municipal property. In regards to safety who do you trust to look out for the best interests of our residents? Canada Post or the City.