Nelson council agreed to send a letter to Canada Post objecting to the phasing out of home delivery mail service.
The suggestion was brought forward by councillor Robin Cherbo, the senior’s advocate on council, who said letter carriers keep an eye on senior residents while dropping of their mail on weekdays.
“If they notice the mail piling up, they’ll realize something’s not right,” Cherbo said.
Canada Post announced in December that it plans to replace all door-to-door mail service with community mailbox delivery within five years, as a cost saving measure.
Councillor Paula Kiss suggested an exception should be made for compact communities like Nelson, especially given concerns about carbon emissions and the number of vehicles on the roads.
“Instead of having one person delivering the mail on foot, we’re going to have a lot of people driving to pickup their mail from a community mailbox,” Kiss said.
Cherbo added that many seniors have mobility concerns and walking is difficult with Nelson’s steep terrain.
“Especially in wintertime, I think there will be a lot of people who won’t be able to walk safely to pickup their own mail,” he said.
Several councillors also cited concerns about the loss of well paid jobs for carriers in Nelson and the lack of consultation with rural communities. Though they were fairly sure their letter wouldn’t stop Canada Post from moving forward with it’s decision, they wanted to formally express their opposition.
“Let’s speak out in opposition now, but also keep our eye on what we can do moving forward to make it better,” councillor Donna Macdonald said, explaining that council could play a role in determining the best locations for the community mailboxes and find ways to reduce the impact on seniors.
“It seems clear that Canada Post is on that path and they’re going to do it, whether we like it or not,” Macdonald said.
Last summer, Nelson got behind a different issue to support local postal workers when it sent a letter to the federal Minister in charge of Canada Post asking for more consultation on a proposal to open a second postal franchise a few blocks from the public post office.