While the door has been slammed on door-to-door mail service, questions on what comes next continue to linger.
The first phase of mail delivery conversion from door-to-door to community mailboxes begins in the fall with 11 communities across the country, none of which are in Edmonton.
But Ward 8 city councillor Ben Henderson remains concerned with the logistics involved in making the controversial switch.
“I must say I’m puzzled in terms of what the strategy is, I mean, Canada Post is just making themselves more irrelevant to people,” said Henderson.
Citing a city council inquiry made back in February 2014, Henderson and fellow councilor Amarjeet Sohi brought up questions surrounding the possibility of increased litter and garbage around the boxes, an increase in theft and policing costs, snow clearing measures, accessibility for seniors and mobility impaired persons, parking, and the viability and cost of installing mailboxes in mature neighbourhoods where infrastructure may not exist.
The result of the inquiry produced a report with recommendations on how the city can proceed once a neighbourhood is called on. The Community Services Committee will pour over the report when they return to work on Wednesday at City Hall.
“Retrofitting them into neighbourhoods is not going to be as simple as designing neighbourhoods around them,” said Henderson. “There’s a whole bunch of issues and concerns about how you retrofit mailboxes into neighbourhoods that have just not been designed for them.”
Whether the community mailboxes will attract thieves and vandals has yet to be seen but it is a concern.
In 2013, Canada Post received over 200 calls from Edmonton households citing issues with vandalism, broken doors and lost keys. However the report notes Edmonton police does not currently collect statistics on mailbox theft or vandalism.
“It’s hard to know what the realities of that are but I know it was something raised to me by postal workers,” said Henderson. “Obviously, they’re locked boxes but when they’re all together in one place it makes them more vulnerable, is my understanding.”
Before any neighbourhood retrofit announcement involving Edmonton is made, an executive from Canada Post is expected to meet with city council to discuss an implementation plan to find the most appropriate locations for the community mailboxes.
Public input is expected to be a part of the process through direct mail surveys delivered to affected residents and through online feedback.
Henderson said he initially heard concerns voiced by constituents back in December 2013 when the decision was made, and while the decision itself is a federal one it does bring up issues from municipalities across the county.
“I know we’re not the only ones and I know these questions are being asked across the country,” said Henderson.