JILLIAN AUSTIN/BRANDON SUN
Members of the gallery hold up “Save Canada Post” signs as Brandon City Council discussed Canada Post’s plan to phase out door-to-door delivery on Monday night.
Brandon City Council has thrown its support behind the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
This week, council passed a motion to send a letter to Lisa Raitt, the federal minister responsible for Canada Post, to say that Brandon wants to maintain the system of residential door-to-door delivery, and requests the government consult with Canadians about what kind of postal service they need.
The motion, brought forward by Mayor Shari Decter Hirst, states going from door-to-door delivery to community mailboxes would be "especially hard on seniors and people with disabilities."
Last December, Canada Post announced it will be ending door-to-door delivery in urban areas and hiking the cost of stamps.
The change will be rolled out over the next five years, which will also mean scaling down its labour force by 6,000 to 8,000 people.
The change would entail the "downloading of responsibilities, costs and liabilities to local governments," such as paving, lighting, snow removal, and policies related to vandalism, graffiti and mail theft, according to the city’s resolution.
"At a recent FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) event I talked to the mayor of Surrey, who has had a great deal of issues around vandalism and mail theft," Decter Hirst said. "You can imagine, when those big community mailboxes are open, everyone in that mailbox’s mail is subject to potential theft. It’s a target for graffiti — our police have got better things to do than start patrolling community mailboxes."
There’s also the issue of snow clearing around community mailboxes. Decter Hirst wondered if that task would become the city’s responsibility.
The decision comes two weeks after Local 708 president John van Hoek, and chief shop steward Leanne Stanick, made a presentation to council on the subject.
The union is urging municipalities across the country to send letters to Raitt, and would like to see Canada Post look at re-establishing postal banking as an alternative way to save the system.
The only councillor to vote against the motion was Jeff Fawcett (Assiniboine). He said Canada Post is a federal issue and didn’t believe the topic needed to be at the council table.
"The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is dealing with it, so is it kind of redundant?" he said. "They represent us as a lobby group."
Fawcett also pointed out that most of the Brandon residents living on the North Hill already have community mailboxes, including the Oak Bluff area, trailer courts and Monterey Estates senior homes.
"The only place on the North Hill without them is where I live which is … the older part," he said. "So the change on the North Hill would be that little section."
Fawcett said times change, and people have to adapt even if it does seem inconvenient.
"It’s an industry that’s changing," he said. "It’s a little bit like going to buy a CD at a CD store in Brandon."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 19, 2014