Canada Post evaluating rural mailboxes

Michael Gorman
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Canada Post is determining the safety of rural mailboxes in the area. Michael Gorman photo

By Michael Gorman



Representatives from Canada Post are in Yarmouth County trying to determine if any rural mailboxes are unsafe.

During a meeting last week with council for the Municipality of Yarmouth, Tinna Bonner, spokesperson for rural delivery services, said they’ve reached the point where they must ensure mailboxes are safe for their drivers.

“There’s always a number of rural mailboxes that pose risk to our drivers,” she said, adding that there have been three deaths since 2005 caused, at least in part, by unsafe mailbox locations.

Bonner said the volume and speed of traffic on rural roads is increasing. Besides monitoring traffic, criteria for what constitutes a safe or unsafe mailbox also consider the size of the shoulder, sight lines and whether or not it’s safe for a driver to stop.

As it stands, rural mail delivery people have the right to refuse service to mailboxes they feel are unsafe.

The evaluation in Yarmouth County is focusing on 3,464 rural mailboxes along nine rural routes in Yarmouth, Hebron and Arcadia. Bonner said it has nothing to do with cost-cutting measures.

“It’s actually costing Canada Post millions of dollars to conduct this review,” she said. “Our primary objective is to retain rural mailbox delivery.”

If a mailbox fails the evaluation, customers could have the chance to relocate their boxes to a nearby location or, if relocation isn’t possible, they will be offered a community site in the area or a free post office box as long as one is available.

Although councillors understood why the process needs to happen, most expressed concerns about what the loss of a mailbox could mean for certain residents.

Councillor Heather MacDonald wondered what losing a mailbox might mean for seniors with limited or no mobility.

Bonner said before anything happens to a mailbox there is consultation between the residents and members of Canada Post. In the case of seniors they do whatever they can to find a solution.

“We try and work with the seniors as much as possible,” said Bonner, adding that there is a hardship case program to make arrangements for individuals who might have no other way to get their mail.

The preference is to avoid building new community mailboxes, said Bonner, due to the cost and maintenance issues. Deputy Warden Murray Goodwin was pleased to hear this news.

“I’m encouraged that you’re not out to get rid of rural mailboxes because you’d have a small war on your hands,” he said.

The evaluation process started towards the end of June. It’s expected everything would be complete — including issuing all approvals and dealing with any necessary moves — within 90 days.

Organizations: Canada Post

Geographic location: Yarmouth County, Hebron

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Recent comments

  • arlene irvine
    January 19, 2013 - 21:50

    i am 67 years old and live in springville nova scotia. canada post sent reps this summer to asses my mailbox. i was told its unsafe - why i asked - because you are close to a ditch. ridiculous. asking later it was because there is a double (no passing line) on the road. i guess its ok for the people that deliver the flyers and news papers to be killed (very dangerous). i think the garbage pickup should also be considered dangerous because stupid drivers will slam into them. without going into the totally nonsensical stuff - i was told they were trying so hard to find a SAFE spot for the mailboxes. in january after many frustrating enquiries, i received a key in the mail and told where my new postal box would be. i drove the route - it is 7.3 kilometers (one way) from my home and in the opposite direction i always drive to new glasgow. there have been 3 deaths in 8 years, how many deaths will be because of having 100 people driving to pick up their mail. i am encouraging people to not pick up their mail, im not - its too dangerous. its very hard for me to be courteous as i would like to use every swear word i know.