Who will reign supreme?
It’s Canada Post vs. The City of Hamilton and the issue is…how much of a say does government have about where new community mailboxes are installed? In a nutshell this means Canada Post’s plan to stop home mail delivery and have the group mailboxes is now UNDER ATTACK. Hamilton authorities say the Crown Corporation is not adhering to local regulations and now the issue is going to court.
If that isn’t bad enough Canada Post is already facing a lawsuit from a union representing postal workers that wants the Federal Court to declare the cancellation of home delivery unconstitutional.
The case is considered by some official to be a national debate that asks the question, do municipalities have the right to get involved and create standards in the communities that Canada Post and utilities must follow?”
As it stands now, Canada Post says it told Hamilton of its intention to transition about 36,000 households to community mailbox delivery in June 2014. However since these discussions, things have obviously gone sour.
After hearing complaints over safety, privacy, litter and traffic when the mailboxes are installed in what they consider less-than-ideal locations, Hamilton’s city council amended a bylaw, which now requires Canada Post to obtain a $200 permit per site to install the mailboxes on municipal land. City staff would get each mailbox’s location to ensure it meets city standards before granting the permit.
According to reports Canada Post ignored the bylaw however, saying that under the federal Canada Post Act, it has the exclusive jurisdiction over postal services and the legal authority to install community mailboxes on municipally owned property.
When the city issued an order in late April for the mail service to stop installing the community mailboxes until it complied with the bylaw, Canada Post filed a notice in Ontario Superior Court asking for the bylaw to be declared invalid. The issue will be heard before a court later this month.
In the meantime, however, some Hamilton residents continue to clash with Canada Post, feeling that they have not been consulted or treated with respect. One individual commented that the plans for the new boxes interfered with where he plans to build a new driveway.
Canada Post, however, says it spent months consulting with the city over the location of the mailboxes.
“Our approach is to consult, be respectful, but also understanding that there are laws that govern how postal services are provided in Canada,” said spokesman Jon Hamilton. “We understand that this is a difficult change, and that’s why we have a long process to gather feedback, to try and find a solutions that makes sense.”
Canada Post made a number of changes to mailbox locations after talking to residents, he said, and also told the city its bylaw was considered invalid before the matter went to court.
Other municipalities are taking a cue from what is happening in Hamilton. Municipalities like Aurora where they proposed a similar bylaw which would require Canada Post to apply for permits when installing community mailboxes. Again complaints of meaningful consultation not happening are prevalent.
What do you think about the idea of community mailboxes and where they get located? Comments welcome!
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