Planters vs post boxes

Gar­dens sprout in Lon­don com­mu­nity mail­box sites as lo­cals op­pose Canada Post

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

Minia­ture gar­dens are sprout­ing at cer­tain lo­ca­tions in Lon­don, Ont., where Canada Post plans to in­stall con­tro­ver­sial com­mu­nity mail­boxes.

The fenced-in flower beds, which sit atop the con­crete pads where mail­boxes will stand, are be­ing in­stalled by a group of res­i­dents op­posed to the Crown cor­po­ra­tion’s plan to end door-to-door residential mail de­liv­ery.

The group, called Lon­don­ers for Door to Door, says the gar­den boxes are be­ing set up in ar­eas where lo­cal res­i­dents are un­happy with mak­ing the switch to com­mu­nity mail­boxes.

Canada Post an­nounced its plan to end door-to-door ser­vice in De­cem­ber 2013, cit­ing de­clin­ing tra­di­tional mail vol­umes as the rea­son. It gave it­self five years to im­ple­ment the move to com­mu­nity mail­boxes and said it ex­pects 900,000 house­holds to make the switch this year.

Wendy Gold­smith says the Lon­don­ers for Door to Door was set up in the win­ter af­ter res­i­dents raised con­cerns about safety, pri­vacy, lit­ter and traf­fic when mail­boxes go into what they con­sider less-than-ideal lo­ca­tions.

The ac­tions in Lon­don are just the latest in a se­ries of ef­forts by res­i­dents who are op­posed to Canada Post’s com­mu­nity mail­box plan.

In one Que­bec com­mu­nity, a man dumped soil on the spot where a com­mu­nity mail­box was set to go in, set up a steel fence around it and pep­pered his lawn with “Save door-to-door” signs.

In Hamil­ton, where the city took Canada Post to court over how much say lo­cal gov­ern­ment has over mail­box lo­ca­tions, some res­i­dents used bags of mulch and newly planted shrubs to dis­rupt in­stal­la­tion of the mail­boxes.

De­spite the lo­cal dis­plays of dis­sent, how­ever, Canada Post emerged the win­ner of that court case. An On­tario judge found that a Hamil­ton by­law, which re­quired Canada Post to ob­tain a $200 per­mit per site to in­stall boxes on mu­nic­i­pal land, did not ap­ply to the Crown cor­po­ra­tion.

In Lon­don, Gold­smith said the latest “guerilla gar­den­ing” ef­fort came about be­cause Canada Post wasn’t re­spect­ing a re­quest from the city of Lon­don to hold off on mail­box in­stal­la­tion un­til fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion was held.

“What we want to do is send a re­ally clear mes­sage to Canada Post that this is some­thing our com­mu­nity is not go­ing to ac­cept with­out con­sul­ta­tion and with­out res­i­dents be­ing made aware clearly of the im­pact this is go­ing to have on their com­mu­ni­ties,” she said.

The first gar­den box was in­stalled in Wed­nes­day night, Gold­smith said, another fol­lowed Thurs­day morn­ing, and third one was planned for a site on Fri­day.

In ad­di­tion to the gar­den boxes, one neigh­bour­hood is hold­ing a so-called “block party” at a pro­posed mail­box site to pre­vent con­trac­tors from de­vel­op­ing it fur­ther, Gold­smith said. In that area, neigh­bours op­posed to the com­mu­nity mail­box tran­si­tion camped out overnight to lay claim to the space, she said.

Gold­smith said her group had reached out to Canada Post in the hopes of hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion but hadn’t been suc­cess­ful in its ef­forts.

CP PHOTO

A man walks past a flower gar­den which now takes the spot of a pro­posed Canada Post su­per mail­box on Black­acres Boule­vard in Lon­don, On­tario, Thurs­day

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