Mangled mail­box frus­trates Codroy Val­ley home­owner

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY ROS­ALYN ROY

Af­ter a mid-De­cem­ber snow­storm, Rex Hatcher woke up to find his mail­box in pieces af­ter it was struck by a snow plow op­er­a­tor clear­ing the Codroy Val­ley roads.

Ini­tially Hatcher thought get­ting his mail­box fixed would be an easy process. He sim­ply asked his wife, Sharon, to con­tact the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works since he was headed off to work that Mon­day morn­ing.

“I hon­estly didn’t re­al­ize it was such a prob­lem,” says Hatcher. “I guess things went down­hill as soon as she phoned.”

Ac­cord­ing to Hatcher his wife got nowhere with the de­part­ment, so he tried call­ing the lo­cal of­fice him­self when he got off work at 4 p.m. but had to leave a mes­sage when no one an­swered.

Al­though he had no idea who dam­aged the mail­box, he left an in­vi­ta­tion for the snow­plow op­er­a­tor via the De­part­ment’s mes­sage sys­tem to come over and dis­cuss it and see what, if any­thing, could be done and asked what pro­ce­dures needed to be fol­lowed to have it re­paired.

He waited at home un­til mid­day Tues­day and then went to work, where col­leagues in­formed him that he would likely just have to deal with the prob­lem him­self.

“First word out of ev­ery­body’s mouth, ‘You’re not go­ing to get any­where. They’re not go­ing to pay,’” re­calls Hatcher.

Next Hatcher went to the post of­fice and even spoke to his mail car­rier to see what could be done, and was also in­formed he was on his own.

Hatcher be­lieves the prob­lem is a ru­ral one, that if he lived in a mu­nic­i­pal­ity the mat­ter would likely be more eas­ily re­solved.

Mail­boxes are not per­mit­ted to be placed in pri­vate drive­ways. Canada Post re­quires ru­ral mail­boxes in lo­cal ser­vice dis­tricts such as the Codroy Val­ley to be a spe­cific dis­tance from the road­way — 33 feet from the cen­tre of the road­way — which usu­ally means it sits on the nar­row shoul­der ex­actly where the snow­plow blades push along the snow.

“In Codroy Val­ley that (33 ft dis­tance) ain’t go­ing to hap­pen. There’s no shoul­der that wide,” says Hatcher, who went out with his tape mea­sure to in­ves­ti­gate. “I went out and ac­tu­ally mea­sured the pave­ment – what’s left of it. It’s 22 feet.”

Hatcher says the con­di­tion of the road in the cul de sac where he lives is poor, and he’s wor­ried not only about the safety of his mail­box but also his mail car­rier.

“In the spring I can move it back 10 feet and I’ll make an ap­proach way for the mail lady to pull in and get back out, but that’s go­ing to be at my ex­pense I as­sume,” he said.

Hatcher thinks if the shoul­der needs wi­den­ing to com­ply with mail­box reg­u­la­tions then he feels the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment should be re­spon­si­ble to put in the ap­proach way.

A more af­ford­able so­lu­tion, he says, would be for Canada

Post to al­low the mail­boxes to be in­stalled in drive­ways, away from the road­way and shoul­der of the road.

“Some­one’s got to be ac­count­able for some­thing,” says a frus­trated Hatcher, who ad­mits he and his wife have given up try­ing to get some sat­is­fac­tion or re­im­burse­ment from the Trans­porta­tion de­part­ment. “This is not nor­mal. This is bla­tant dis­re­gard for any­thing.”

Hatcher has since learned he can fill out a claim form, but still doesn’t have much faith he’ll re­cover the cost of his de­stroyed mail­box any­time soon. He says an apol­ogy or a note from the plow driver, even a few days af­ter the fact, with an in­struc­tion to sub­mit a form for the dam­age would have gone a long way.

“All he had to do is stop and say ‘I did that. I’m sorry.’ That would have helped.”

Mean­while, the Hatcher’s mail­box has been patched to­gether with gen­er­ous amounts of duct tape and a few sticks to help keep it braced.

“I’m not go­ing to put a new mail­box up in the win­ter time,” laughs Hatcher.

As of print dead­line, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works had not re­sponded to in­quiries from The Gulf News.

ROS­ALYN ROY — THE GULF NEWS

Rex Hatcher of Codroy Val­ley says he will in­stall a turn­around to en­sure his mail­box does not get de­stroyed again.

COUR­TESY OF REX HATCHER

Rex Hatcher’s mail­box has been tem­po­rar­ily re­paired with duct tape.

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