Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Let's Press for REAL Community Meetings on Mail Delivery

It felt like someone opened a window and let in a breath of fresh air into City Hall. At the Civic Works Committee meeting on March 3, 2015, our campaign to protect our communities against Canada Post’s unilateral cuts to door-todoor mail delivery took an important step forward. Councillors Ridley, Park and Van Holst passed a motion calling among other things for a halt to the mail service cuts while Canada Post undertakes proper consultation with targeted communities. That motion was ‘tabled’ or postponed by the full City Council on March 10, at the request of Councillor Ridley. She read a letter from a Canada Post representative committing to delay the implementations of the cuts until September to allow for fuller consultations.

This is the first time a community movement has succeeded in slowing down the Canada Post steamroller. This delay is a significant victory is our fight to keep door-to-door mail delivery. London is one of 24 communities in Ontario currently targeted for community mailbox ‘retrofitting’ by the end of 2015. None of these communities has welcomed Canada Post’s plans.

The motion drafted by Councillor Ridley and passed by the Civic Works Committee has not gone away – it is simply postponed. The City of London is in effect giving Canada Post a chance to conduct serious public consultation before returning to this motion. The retroactive imposition of self-serve community mailboxes throughout the city in residential areas that were never designed for them raises many additional questions. The legal agreement the City has yet to negotiate with Canada Post will also need to stipulate issues such as the placement of recycling bins at community mailbox locations, weekly recycling pick up, and compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Where’s the Mayor? 
The motion tabled at City Council also requested that Mayor Matt Brown send a letter to Deepak Chopra, CEO of Canada Post, to inform him that the City of London supports the existing delivery system and wishes to retain this valuable service for our community. While the motion did not come to a vote, it is nonetheless high time our Mayor spoke about this issue on behalf of Londoners.

What is needed now: town hall meetings 
The proposed loss of door-to-door postal delivery in the City of London has many serious implications: from traffic safety, parking, impacts on residential home values and privacy, to the ability of the elderly and residents with mobility challenges to continue to receive their mail at home, security of mail, and maintaining the community mailbox area litter and graffiti free, as well as clear of snow and ice.

Such complex issues cannot be addressed adequately through one-to-one chats with individual residents or property owners, which is what Canada Post typically calls “consultation”. Nor can the executives of neighbourhood associations (where they exist) be expected to speak for all residents in the areas targeted for cuts.

We must reject a piecemeal ‘divide-and-conquer’ approach that pits us as individuals or small groups against a large Crown Corporation, and respond instead as communities. While over 1200 properties are directly targeted this year (see proposed locations by postal code areas in London here:  with maps of affected areas here:, all Londoners deserve a meaningful voice on this important issue affecting our communities. The best way to achieve that is hold public town-hall meetings where everyone can hear about the issues and have their say. Those responsible for these proposed cuts need to be present and held accountable. Local Members of Parliament should attend these town-hall meetings, along with Deepak Chopra and our Mayor. Together we can and must demand accountability and protect our communities from these cuts.

David Heap and Sam Trosow, Londoners for Door to Door
Originally published in Scene Magazine, March 12, 2015.

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