Ottawans Enraged By New Mailbox Locations

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Chiarelli
Chiarelli

Residents in College ward are furious at the locations chosen by the city planning department for new community mailboxes, Councillor Rick Chiarelli says. The boxes will be used in place of home mail delivery as it is being phased out this year.

Canada Post has begun converting mail delivery in old neighbourhoods to community mailboxes.

Residents have been so irate about the locations of these mailboxes that a Chiarelli councillor assistant had to be talked out of quitting her job because of the phone abuse she received on the issue.

Little or no consulting was done with affected residents, Chiarelli says. A meeting was held that told people in broad terms about the community mailboxes but not the specific locations. Chiarelli said that in a number of cases, a better location for some of the boxes is obvious but city planning and Canada Post have chosen terrible spots.

When people complain to Canada Post about the mailboxes, Chiarelli says they are referred to the city. The city then refers those residents back to Canada Post, he said, increasing the frustration of those affected.

“It’s incredible,” Chiarelli said in an interview.

It is impossible for the media to discover where the mailboxes are to be located because each household in an affected area is given a code to discover the location of their particular box and no more. The resident only knows the location of the box they’ve been designated.

The city has either not studied or is not releasing information on the cost to the municipality of the mailboxes, Chiarelli says. Canada Post demands the city supply for the mailboxes sidewalks where appropriate, ramps, lighting, signage, snow-clearing and graffiti removal.

The City of Hamilton, Ont., estimates that each mailbox will cost the municipality about $522 in maintenance and infrastructure. Hamilton says in total the city will have to fork out about $2.1 million for the improvements around community mailboxes. Hamilton is about half the size of Ottawa.

The City of Ottawa is saying the boxes won’t cost the municipality anything, Chiarelli says.

People in the Hamilton area discovered suddenly that the boxes would be located near their homes … resulting in litter, diminished home values and adversely affecting privacy.

In London, Ont., CTV News reported that Canada Post and the City of London, Ont., have a list of about 300 locations for community mailboxes but those spots are not being released to the public.

The City of London has those locations but a city spokesman said: “Canada Post has requested that we not disclose the information at this time.”

In London, Canada Post has said it is reluctant to hold public meetings because a few people can dominate the meetings. It would rather deal with residents one-on-one.

As well in London, city staff is working with Canada Post to help choose appropriate spots for the mailboxes but Canada Post has the final say over the locations.

Ottawa will see 46,710 addresses phased out of home delivery. These are located in Westboro, Bells Corners, Carlington, Fisher Heights, Arlington Woods, Blossom Park, Herongate, Fisher Heights, and South Keys.

Residents in the K1T, K1V, K1Z, K2C, K2E, K2G and K2H postal codes are expected to get community mailboxes by the end of 2015.

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