No quick answers to mailbox theft

Marnie Armstrong of Canada Post answers questions at TNRD meeting held at TRU on Thursday.

Marnie Armstrong of Canada Post answers questions
at TNRD meeting held at TRU on Thursday.

It appears there will be no solutions any time soon for community mailbox ripoffs in our area.

Several weeks ago, I asked that Canada Post be invited to a TNRD board meeting to talk about the problem of theft from mailboxes in rural areas and explain its strategy for dealing with it. As a result, today, Marnie Armstrong, Canada Post’s director of municipal engagement, and Jenny Van Alstyne, director of governmental affairs, appeared before the board to talk about rural mailbox security.

I had also talked with Van Alstyne about the problem at the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention in Edmonton earlier this year.

Armstrong told the board that Canada Post has developed a newer, stronger community mailbox that is much more secure. The new box has an outgoing mail slot, and parcels can be retrieved from the boxes as well, though the latter isn’t a new feature.

Theft from community mailboxes has been a problem in Area P, and I pointed out three things that need to be addressed:

• there appears to be no list of priorities for which locations will see the replacement of current community mailboxes with the newer ones. Rural residents would like to know when their mailbox will be upgraded, so they at least have an idea when the problem will be addressed.

• it’s annoying for rural residents to hear from Canada Post that they should be more careful about removing mail from their mailboxes quickly. Rural residents are not causing the problem; Canada Post needs to take responsibility.

• reporting thefts should be easy. Residents affected by community mailbox theft need to be able to get to the right person quickly so it can be acted on.

This, coincidentally, was the same day Canada Post announced that doorstep mail delivery will end in Kamloops next year in favour of urban community mailboxes. Director Ken Gillis made an important point: the termination of doorstep mail service will require a lot of new community mailboxes to be installed. Rural areas shouldn’t have to wait even longer while those mailboxes are requisitioned for Kamloops streets.

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