The residents of about 1,900 Saanich homes will be among the first Canada Post customers to lose door-to-door service and adopt community mailboxes next fall.
And while there many initial concerns from residents, Canada Post has launched a highly accessible program which offers residents multiple opportunities to have a say in where those boxes will go.
“Houses will receive the informational kit (in the VNA and VNB postal code zones) from Canada Post this week confirming they’re part of the conversion and inviting feedback,” said Canada Post spokesperson Anick Losier.
“We localize the information on where to put the boxes at granular level within the street, and that comes from the community and municipality level.”
Canada Post’s priorities are to blend the community boxes into the region as best as possible while respecting urban design, attention to accessibility, safety, high traffic and sidewalks, Losier said.
While all of Canada will be converted away from door-to-door delivery over the next five years, Saanichites in postal codes V9A (near the Gorge and Portage Inlet) and V9B (south west Granville neighbourhood) will be first. A total of 18,008 addresses in Victoria, Langford, Colwood, Esquimalt, View Royal and New Songhees 1A are converting by the fall of 2015.
Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff, who has been active in ensuring public consultation from Canada Post, said it’s important to provide feedback as Canada Post has the right to put the boxes on public land, in parks and the corner lots of people’s homes, as long as a right of way exists.
Gorge Tillicum Community Association president Rob Wickson previously experienced the positive side of having communal mail collection during his time in Canada’s Arctic.
He sees the boxes as a chance to create community connection, and he’s also encouraging neighbours to send in their thoughts to Canada Post.
“When I lived in Yellowknife, there was no home delivery. You went to the post office and it was a great gathering place. We hung around there at 3 p.m. everyday, it was a real community gathering point,” Wickson said.
“If we’re going to make this shift, we need to think about how can we make it a place to benefit the community, and a place to pick up the mail, as oppose to a place that’s littered with garbage.”
Once Canada Post has tabulated the feedback for an area with both residents and the community, it will send a letter to residents stating the designated place for the community box, Losier said.
“There will still be a chance for people to provide feedback at that point,” she said. “Just last week, we changed 50 per cent of the designated box sites in five Montreal communities being converted.”
Losier said there have been very few incidents of ongoing litter problems, and Canada Post does not provide a recycling box.
“The best solution we recommend is for people to take the mail home and sort it there,” she said. Residents entering the conversion process can plug their postal code into a search function at the top right corner of canadapost.ca, or call 1-844-544-3009, where a team of people are taking calls dedicated to the conversion process.