By Kevin Woodhouse
Lachine Mayor Claude Dauphin met with representatives from Canada Post as well as union officials recently and found out that by next spring, Dorval, Pointe Claire and Upper Lachine, avenues 32 through 56, will no longer be receiving home delivery and will have to rely on community mailboxes in order to get access to mail.
“The fact that Canada Post plans to cut service next year is not good news,” Dauphin told The Suburban. “There was never a clear consultation with citizens but rather a simple form sent to homeowners.”
Dauphin also noted that concept of cutting Canada Post’s home delivery service is in direct contrast to the provincial government’s desire to provide more home care services for seniors through agencies like the CLSC. “While the government is asking seniors to use more at home services, our senior citizens will now have to go outside during the winter to get their mail.”
Rather than cut home delivery service outright, Dauphin suggests that Canada Post drop back to home delivery two to three times a week, an idea Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson agrees with.
Gibson wants to meet with Canada Post reps to determine where the new 121 boxes slated for the municipality will go. “The city currently has 85 mailboxes and a recent inspection found 22 to be full of graffiti. Our worry for the future is who will handle the maintenance costs?”
The mayor has already received many concerned e-mails from seniors in Kirkland worries about losing home delivery service. “Will this reduction in services by Canada Post ultimately result in cost savings while affecting our most vulnerable citizens, our seniors.”
The Suburban sought comments from Senator Larry Smith on the issue, who explained that only two years ago, “Canada Post delivered one billion fewer letters than it did in 2006. Canadians are choosing to communicate in ways other than sending letters,” said Smith. “Due to the lack of demand, mail volumes have dropped almost 25 per cent since 2008 and continue to fall.”
While Canada Post is under federal jurisdiction, Jacques-Cartier MNA Geoffrey Kelley said that “Canada Post will have to ensure that seniors and those with reduced mobility can still get services.”
While Canada Post would not specify exactly which West Island municipalities will be affected by home delivery service next spring, spokesperson Eugene Knapik answered via e-mail that “Canada Post is currently reaching out to approximately 70,000 addresses in the Greater Montreal area to be converted to community mailboxes in the spring of 2015. This will be in addition to the approximately 24,000 addresses to be converted to community mailboxes in the Montreal area later this year.
Knapik did acknowledge that customers “who live in apartment buildings, seniors homes and condos who have mail delivered to the lobby, or customers who live in rural areas and have their own mailbox at the end of their driveway” will still receive home delivery service
The Canada Post spokesperson also noted that within the next five years,
“Canada Post intends to convert to community mailboxes the one-third of addresses that receive door-to-door service. This represents about five million addresses in total across the country. Customers who wish to know where they are in the process can go to canadapost.ca and enter their postal code.”
“Canada Post must balance its finances without being a burden on Canadian taxpayers, and that is what we expect them to do,” noted Senator Smith.
“People should not count on Lachine to accept these losses of services,” Dauphin said.