Mangled mailbox frustrates Codroy Valley homeowner
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.
Rex Hatcher of Codroy Valley says he will install a turnaround to ensure his mailbox does not get destroyed again.
Rex Hatcher’s mailbox has been temporarily repaired with duct tape.